Summary: After Jesus' death Peter and the other disciples went back to their fishing boats. Jesus reminds them of what they were called to do. let us not go backwards but rely on God and his promises - he has a purpose for each of us!
The Bible amazes me how you can read a passage over and over and then one time you stumble over a new way of looking at it. In my case I was reading a book called ‘Searching for God knows What’ by Donald Miller when he linked these two passages:
As Jesus was walking beside the sea of Galilee he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting their net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come follow me’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men’. At once they left their nets and followed him’.
Afterwards Jesus appeared again to his disciples by the sea of Tiberias. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathaneal from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee and two other disciples were together. ‘I’m going out to fish,’ Simon Peter told them, and they said ’We’ll go with you’. So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realise it was Jesus. He called out to them ’Friends, haven’t you caught any fish’? ’No’, they answered. He said ’Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some’. When they did, they were unable to haul; the net in because of the large number of fish. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’
In his book, Donald Miller writes
‘my friend David Gentiles observes… that Peter had spent the last three years travelling with Christ, watching miracles be performed, listening to Jesus’ proclamations about his Godhead and noting the many prophecies that were being fulfilled daily and yet after all of this is back where Jesus found him: fishing’.
I think it’s human nature, when we just cant see the way ahead, and what or who we’re meant to be following isn’t in view.
From what Donald Miller wrote, and from thinking through the passage in John I picked out a few things that struck me.
1) Jesus will fulfil the promises he made when he first called us. Peter was called to be a fisher of men and we know from what’s recorded in Acts and so on that Peter was used to bring people to faith in Christ. As early as Acts Chapter 2, when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples, Peter spoke to a great crowd and about 3,000 were added to their number that day; and of course, this was just the beginning of Peter’s ministry. It’s also worth noting that in verse 19 of John 21 (quickview) , Jesus says to Peter ‘follow me’, just as he had said when he first called him, letting Peter know that he is trustworthy and that he would fulfil the promise he made to Peter 3 years earlier. Maybe God has called you to something that you are yet to see bear fruit. Jesus is asking that we follow him today, as we chose to do when we first believed in him.