Summary: Today I want to tell you about a fishing trip that took place after the Resurrection.
Hi, my name is Simon Peter. You’ve probably heard of some of my most embarrassing moments. It would take me all day to tell you about how my mouth has messed me up, and about how I let Jesus down, as well as the other disciples. Today I want to tell you about a fishing trip that took place after the Resurrection. My buddy John wrote about it in some detail – you can follow along if you’d like in John 21:1-14.
Jesus told us to go to Galilee, where He would meet with us (Matthew 26:32). It was amazing how Jesus would appear briefly and then go away. He first made Himself known to Mary Magdalene and the other women, but we didn’t really believe their report. He then appeared to me and then revealed Himself to two disciples as they walked to Emmaus. I’ll never forget that day; I only wish He would have stayed longer because I still felt so bad about my failure. On Easter Sunday night, Jesus came through locked doors and proclaimed peace to us. One week later, when Thomas was present, He visited with us again. But then Jesus was gone. As I think back, it was almost as if He was weaning us from His presence.
As we headed to Galilee, I was pretty down in the dumps. The other disciples couldn’t believe how quiet I was. I was disappointed in myself and frankly felt like giving up. When I saw the Sea of Tiberias, also known as the Sea of Galilee, my heart starting racing as I remembered how successful I had been as a professional fisherman. I even had hired men working for me. The smell of the water and the sound of the waves did something to me. Since I wasn’t any good at this “disciple” thing, maybe I could go back and just catch fish again. I announced to the six others that I was going fishing. They could tell from my tone of voice and the words I used that I was ready to retire as a follower of Christ. Part of me just wanted to relax, but another part of me felt rebellious. I was surprised when they all said they would join me. I guess I still felt like they wouldn’t want to be around me because of what I had done.
At first I was pretty pumped up to fish but the feelings faded quickly. I had forgotten how hard it was to hurl the nets into the sea and then drag them back into the boat. It all seemed monotonous, especially since we got skunked. We had worked all night and didn’t even catch a pan fish! This made me feel even more discouraged as the empty nets were a metaphor of my life at that moment.
As the sun was beginning to come up, we saw someone standing on the shore, but we had no idea who it was. He then called out to us, in a voice that sounded vaguely familiar, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” This was disarming for two reasons. First, fishermen never like to admit that they’ve not caught anything. Second, this man used a term that literally meant, “children.” I had heard that before. When we told Him we had not caught a thing, he told us to throw our nets on the other side of the boat and we’d find some fish. We decided to listen to him, and when we did, we couldn’t even pull in the nets because they were so full!