Wednesday, April 29, 2015
John 21:1-14 continued
We noted on Monday that Jesus' earthly relationship with His disciples started and finished with a miraculous haul of fish.
One of the first things that we can see in this passage is that it is truly important to obey Jesus! It may have been difficult for men who had been fishermen all their lives to take the suggestions of someone that they'd heard was trained as a carpenter. They may even have been the best fishermen in Galilee; perhaps they'd even won contests at their craft.
And besides, what Jesus was suggesting didn't really seem to make sense . . . what difference could it make to put the net on the other side of the boat?
Sometimes God allows us to go into situations where it seems like there is no answer. We try and try, and we think we've tried everything. We think to ourselves, I sure thought I knew what needed to be done. And I tried what worked before. Now someone is telling me to try something so simple that it seems crazy.
Perhaps God is asking us to do something that isn't just simple -- it may seem to us to be foolish.
We've been fishing on the left side (maybe that was standard operating procedure . . . maybe the boat was built to do it that way . . .) and now you ask us to believe that fishing on the right side will make a difference? We've been at this all night, and you ask us to believe that one more cast will solve anything?
Of course, Jesus could have made the fish swim into the net while it was still on the left side of the boat. Yup. He could have done that easily.
In fact, He could have just made the fish jump into their boat, ay? That would have been amazing!
But it would not have involved obedience. Jesus wanted them to learn that blessings follow obedience.
It's the same in our relationships with God -- success follows obedience, even if He is asking you to do something that seems counter-intuitive, even foolish. We aren't smarter than God. We can't keep doing the same things and expect different results. We can't rebel against Him, and go against what He is telling us; we can't do all the wrong things and expect good things to happen. Nope.
Success comes when we are willing to listen to Jesus and then do what He says.
And that involves humility. These seven men were professionals at fishing. They knew all about it. Their fathers and grandfathers had taught them, and then they'd spent years at their work. They knew the right kind of boat, and the best knots to make nets that would not tear. They knew the signs of the wind and the look of the water when fish were gathering. They had to be humble enough to do what Jesus said, instead of trusting what they had learned about fishing.
When it comes to following our Lord, we can't give up. We can't always rely on our knowledge or our training, either. Jesus wants us to have a teachable spirit. You know those people that you simply can't tell anything? You can't explain anything to them because they already know it all? They don't want advice, and so they will never learn.
We must have humility and a willing spirit:
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit,
to sustain me. (Psalm 51:12)
When we are willing to listen to Jesus, and do what He says, great things can happen!