Summary: Jesus was still teaching the disciples lessons - even after the tomb. Here, he teaches a lesson using a miraculous catch of fish.
Jesus was still trying to teach the disciples a lesson, even after His death. Jesus was going to leave the disciples in charge of His work and His mission here on this earth. After the events of Christ’s death, some believe that Peter returned to fishing because he felt discouraged and even despondent.
After all, he had been rebuked, questioned about his little faith, and had even denied Jesus, not once, but 3 times. He thought Jesus was the anticipated Messiah, the one who would be King, and rule here on earth, so Jesus’ death left him with doubts and questions.
Notice the first 2 disciples named, Peter the denier, and Thomas, the doubter. Even the disciples needed His love and forgiveness. Peter was a master fisherman, as were several of the other disciples with him and yet what does it say about their catch that night?
They caught nothing. Why? If we aren’t doing what God called us to do, or if we’re doing the wrong thing for the right reason, with the purest of motives, we’ll not succeed at whatever we try to do. They weren’t fishing for the right thing.
Jesus Himself was standing on the shore, and was there to guide them, and to teach them. We must fully realize that the Lord will help us do what He’s called us to do. His calling still remained on their lives, and He wanted them to be fishers, not of fish, but of men. (Matthew 4:19, Mark 1 :17, and Luke 5:10).
This text shows us that God has given each of us a specific calling, and we must not waver when we get discouraged or tired, or angry or when things happen, that we don’t fully understand.
There’s also a lesson here in knowing what Jesus really meant when He promised He’d always be with us. Jesus came to them that very normal morning, when they were doing what was very normal to them, fishing. He met them where they were, doing the common and ordinary things of their lives. We usually aren’t looking for Jesus in the ordinary events of our lives, only during the storms or during big events when we feel we really need Him.
By telling them to cast the net on the right side, Jesus was telling them to trust Him. They had the right idea, but they were working on the wrong side. After all, these were experienced fishermen, if there were no fish on the left side, why would there be fish on the right side? But, when they obeyed, they were blessed. Our faith is strengthened by our obedience, even if we don’t understand, even if what we’re told to do doesn’t seem to make sense.
The disciple whom Jesus loved, John, was the first one to recognize Jesus. John, the one whose head was on Jesus chest at the table, the one who outran Peter to the tomb , John , the one who always knew when it was Jesus. We all need to be a "John" in our attitudes, or have a “John” in our lives, one who’s not trying to be impressive, but one who is steadfast and knows the presence of the Lord.
When we’re tired and it’s been a long night, John would say, there’s Jesus, when we’re confused and unsure, John’s voice would ring out, there’s Jesus, when we’ve been through a lot and we’ve cried and feel like quitting, John would boldly announce, there’s Jesus. Jesus is always our strength and our hope, and He is always there with us, so remember to call out His name, and lean on Him.
When Peter realized it was Jesus, he immediately lept from the boat and headed for the Lord, leaving everything and everyone behind. Think about this, we think the real test of life is when we don’t have what we need, but we endure the long bouts of poverty or sickness, and not having our needs met, but it’s not. Anybody will seek God when they don’t have what they need, even an atheist will cry out to the Lord when the end is near.
The REAL test, is when your “ship comes in” when you get what you’ve been working so hard for, that top job, the big house, the new car, and you must decide to leave it all for Jesus. The nets were so full they could hardly contain all the fish, it was a record haul, and a fisherman’s dream, an extraordinary abundance, during an ordinary event, yet Peter left it all, and jumped out of the boat to reach Jesus.
Now, look what was waiting for him when he finally reached the Lord, breakfast was ready before he even made it to the shore with any of the fish!!