There are many people who love to fish. For some, it is a business, a competitive sport and others a hobby. If you have ever spoken with a person who loves to fish, they can be really passionate about it. They have a wealth of wisdom and knowledge as to how they get results. Even though they each use various methods, there is one thing in common; they know how to get results.
In the New Testament, there are two accounts of an extraordinary catch of fish. Of course these accounts involve the some of the first disciples. The books of Matthew and Mark on mention the public call of the disciples. “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mark 4:19). But the book of Luke, chapter 5 gives details of the event that lead to the call.
These were seasoned fisherman who had been out all night and there were no results for all of their efforts. Imagine that they are just coming in and washing their nets, and Jesus is preaching on shore. Of course, He would have their attention because of the multitude of people that were listening. Then Jesus gets into one their boats and says, “launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a draught.” (Luke 5:4).
I wonder how intently the fishermen were listening to what Jesus was saying prior to his getting into the boat. Was their faith built up to the point of “nevertheless at the word?” (Luke 5:5). Have you ever wondered what He said? Because everything that Jesus said and did, is not written. (John 21:25). Was there something in His voice that gave them just enough faith to be a part of the miracle that was yet to manifest?
The catch was so great that the nets broke and they had to call the other ship for help. Both ships were so full that they began to sink. This miracle opened Peter eyes to the revelation of who Jesus was. Immediately he fell at Jesus’ feet and confessed his sin. He recognized the Holy One. At this point the fishermen left everything to follow Jesus. It only takes one encounter with Jesus to turn and change the direction of your life.
At the end of spending time with Jesus, about three years, and experiencing His death, burial and resurrection, the disciples have the experience of another catch. In John, chapter 21, Jesus appeared to some of His disciples. They had been out all night fishing as it was their custom. Once again they caught nothing. Picture this scene. The resurrected Jesus is standing on the shore and asks, “children, have ye any meat?” (John 21:5). The answer was no.
Again Jesus tells them where to cast their nets. Of course the multitude of the catch was so heavy that they could not lift it. At this point one of the disciples recognized the stranger on shore and said, “It is the Lord.” (John 21:7). Instantly when Peter heard this, he threw off his outer garments. He stripped down to the basics and threw himself in the sea. Just like the first catch, it took two boats to bring it in. Now this was the third time that Jesus appeared unto the disciples after His resurrection. One would think that even if they could not recognize Him because of their distance from the shore, distance from Him, that they would recognize His voice and the term that He addressed them, children. After spending three years with Jesus, surely they could recognize His voice. But could it be the distance from the resurrected Lord that hinders their ability?
The most interesting part of this encounter is that Jesus is already on shore cooking a fish sandwich they arrived. He has bread and fish on the fire. Then He says, “bring of the fish which ye have now caught.” (John 21: 10). Peter brings the net full of fish to the count of 153 and the net was not broken. None was lost.
There has always been a great need for evangelism, but these are the days that have been written about and it is urgent that the gospel be told. When the disciples first met Jesus and launched out into the deep for the catch, their nets were not strong and stable enough to hold every fish, which resulted in the breaking of the nets. Notice that after spending three years with Jesus, on the next catch the nets held every fish and even gave a count.
Even though the leading of the Holy Spirit will direct us to those that are ripe for the harvest, once we cast the net, it must hold them to bring them to Jesus. Successful evangelism at this time will require much time with Jesus in meditation, prayer, praise and worship. This time spent with Him will wash our nets as well as mend them in the areas that we may not be aware of that are torn. As we are lights on the earth, we must keep oil in our lamps so that they burn brightly and not become dim. I wonder as the Father looks down from the throne room how many lights are fire hot, burning brightly, and how many are just flickering dimly?
Can you see in the ocean of people that are waiting for you to cast your net? All different types with every kind of problem in deep places that many will not even dare to go. Will you become seasoned and passionate in the way you throw you net? Bring them to Jesus and remember what He told Peter. Jesus said “feed my lambs once and feed my sheep twice.” A lamb is a young sheep. Will you serve the gospel, the good news, the truth, the love, to those that you encounter? Is your net ready?
“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.”
© February 2011