The Bible states very clearly that Jesus had planned on appearing to His disciples in Galilee after His resurrection, (Matthew 28:10) but due to the Disciples fear of the Jewish rulers, they remained hidden in a secret location in Jerusalem. Jesus, realizing they were motivated by fear and unbelief, appears to them in their locked room. He immediately upbraids them for their unbelief. (Mark 16:14) Jesus would appear twice at their secured location attempting to stabilize their faith. Sometime later, during a fishing trip by seven of His Disciples at the Sea of Galilee, Jesus would manifest Himself to them for the third time since His resurrection. (John 21:14) One wonders why they were fishing. Had they not given up fishing to follow Him? (Luke 5:11) Where were the other four Disciples? I wonder how many people today have returned to their old ways. I wonder how many have shared their faith only behind closed doors for fear of what other people will say or think.
While the seven fishermen were spending a fishless night of net casting, Jesus had arrived and prepared them wonderful fish sandwiches. (John 21:9) When the breakfast was ready, Jesus called out to them and asked them if they had caught anything. When they said they had not, He told them to cast their net on the right side of the boat. The result was they caught “a hundred and fifty three” fish. (John 21:5, 6, 11) John, recognizing Jesus, told Peter, “It is the Lord.” (John 21:7) Peter jumps into the water and swims to meet Him. Breakfast is ready as the boat nears the shore with the bounty of fish. The question must be asked as to what they were going to do with the 153 fish? They obviously were not in the fish market business anymore, so what would they do with their catch? What do we do when an expected bounty of blessings overflow our “net”?
After breakfast, Jesus had a little one-on-one with Peter. He startled Peter by asking him if he loved Him more than the others. (It is interesting to note that when Jesus told the Disciples that they would become offended because of His upcoming persecution, Peter had spoken up and stated, “Although all shall be offended, yet will not I.” (Mark 14:29) Peter responded by telling Jesus that He knew that he loved Him. Jesus would ask Peter two more times if he loved Him. Peter did not waiver in his confession. Jesus told him three times to feed His lambs and sheep. Jesus then shared with him the difficult road that lay ahead for him and would end in his death. (John 21:18) He then simply told Peter, for the second time in the three years that he had known Him, to follow Him. (John 21:19)
What a breakfast that turned out to be! Jesus was telling Peter it was time for him to decide if he was really committed to the calling he had responded to along that same shore some years before. Were the fish calling him or was he committed to “catching” people who were flopping around in the sea of despair. Jesus wanted him to “land” the wayward and feed them the Truth which would then produce contagious followers for Christ.
So many Believers have turned back to their old ways. The fishing boats are out looking for “schools” of temporary fulfillment. Sadly, their nets are coming up empty. Jesus is still asking if we truly love Him. If we do, we need to learn what it means to feed His lambs and sheep. (New converts need to receive spiritual nourishment in order to grow.) Jesus is looking for followers, not self-centered leaders.