Today I was preparing a pot of homemade vegetable soup for my family. As I was cutting the celery, carrots and potatoes I began to think about the scripture in John 21 with Jesus cooking for the disciples. I was hungry-but not for food-for the Word of God. In this passage of scripture we see that Jesus had to catch the fish, prepare it and then cook it. He also had to build the fire and tend to it.
We also see Jesus continually being a servant to his disciples. We hear him commanding them and calling them to Him. He was still meeting their daily needs, even after being resurrected. To me, this time with Jesus was very intimate and a “marker moment” for Peter. I love this passage and it speaks to me of how we are to respond to Christ’s calling.
Here is the infallible Word of God from John 21 ( scripture in red)
1 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee.[a] It happened this way: 2Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus[b]), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 “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.
4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
( He calls them Friends! I love that!)
“No,” they answered.
6 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.
This is what I hear: Jesus appeared to them AGAIN-(making this the THIRD time since his resurrection.) They were fishing on the Sea of Galilee at night and had caught nothing. Jesus told them to cast their nets to the other side of the boat and they did. ( They didn’t realize who he was at this time- yet they listened and obeyed anyway!) When they did this they caught a huge haul of fish- more than they were able to haul in.
Could it be that when we keep doing the same thing, we get the same result? It appears so here. They OBEYED Jesus and got a different result. A HUGE haul of fish!
Let me share my thoughts with you. When we are in ministry ( fishing for souls) and we want to achieve a desired result ( catching many souls) and we keep coming up with the same results-could it be time to change direction? I see this here with the disciples. They were doing the same thing and getting the same results. But when they changed direction and LISTENED to JESUS they were able to get a different result! Sometimes our own stubborn will and unchangeable ways get us undesirable results. So what should we do? Key word here is OBEY GOD!
7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.[c]
Peter took off and ran to greet Jesus as soon as he realized who it was. WOW! Can you imagine being Peter that day? Peter-the one who denied Christ 3 times? Peter must have been bursting at the seams with joy! The boat could hold him no more and I just know he wanted to be the first one to reach him! I know I would be! Can you see it now? Peter splashing and racing for the shore? A huge idiot filled grin on his face with his eyes twinkling and dancing? I can! If I were Peter I would be thinking, “ I get another chance!!! Yippee!!! I’m not going to mess it up this time, but even if I do Jesus will love me through it because that’s what He does! Wait for me, Lord, I’m coming!”
I feel like Peter too. I can’t miss the opportunity to spend my life on God. I was watching Joyce Meyer the other day and she said that when we hear God calling we should be prompt in answering! Sometimes though, we answer with the wrong words, we look in the wrong direction and we get distracted by other people. Just like Peter did when he denied Christ three times. After we have done it we have no idea what “ got into us.” However, our God is a God of second chances and I am very thankful for that! I know you are too!
9When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead
Here we see Jesus cooking them breakfast! I would like to note that scripture says that Jesus used a charcoal fire-not one of wood. Wood would create flames and charcoal does not. Charcoal glows and lasts much longer than wood. “ Today charcoal is used in certain metallurgical processings of “clarification” for example as filter, to remove organic structures, such as chlorine, gasoline, pesticides, and other poisonous chemicals in water and air.” ( from charcoal website)
Here is the definition of clarify: ( dictionary.com)
— vb , -fies , -fying , -fied
1.to make or become clear or easy to understand
2.to make or become free of impurities
3.to make (fat, butter, etc) clear by heating, etc, or (of fat, etc)to become clear as a result of such a process
( Something to think on and ponder over)
Could it be that this moment in time was not really about food but about Peter receiving clarity from Jesus? Charcoal glows as it becomes hot and it takes a long time to go out. Our hearts must glow for Christ and never go out. Jesus was feeding them more than physical food. He was asking Peter questions: “ Do you truly love me more than these?”
What did he mean? Did Peter really love Jesus more than his friends? More than his fishing gear? More than his career as a fisherman?
I ask myself the same question. Do I love Jesus more than my material stuff, my motorcycle, my art, my friends? Would I give it all up to follow Him? It’s all about trusting God. God only wants what is good for me ( and you) and he would never harm me. ( or you)
Peter said, “Yes Lord, you know that I love you.”
Then Jesus said: “ Feed my lambs.”
Who are the lambs? Where are the lambs? How do you feed lambs? Lambs are young sheep. They roam the earth and they need a shepherd to guide them as they graze on the grass and grains of the earth. Just like you and I. We need to be guided, fed, nurtured and watered. Our eternal Shepherd is Jesus Christ and our earthly shepherd is our Pastor.
Then Jesus asks him again: “do you truly love me?”
Peter responds: “ Yes, Lord you know that I love you.”
Jesus said: “ Take care of my sheep.”
Then Jesus asks him a third time: “Do you love me?”
Peter was upset because Jesus asked him a third time and he replied: “ Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Then Jesus said: “Feed my sheep.”
Jesus last command to Peter was this: “ You MUST Follow Me!” ( vs 22)
What was Jesus saying? Do you love me or fish? He didn’t ask Peter to follow him he commanded him to it! He wanted Peter’s total commitment to Him and Him alone, with no “stuff” in the way.
He said to Peter “ You MUST follow me!”
and Peter did.
So shall I.
This is my ” Do you love me rock” from the Sea of Galilee. It was brought to me by a dear friend who took a trip there last year. It sits at my computer desk and I often hold it while I am blogging or studying. It’s a wonderful reminder to me that Peter and I have something in common-we share a true love for our Lord and Savior!
I hope you do too!
ps: an afterthought: Just like fish need to be cleaned- so do we. Just as charcoal purifies the air that we breath-Jesus cleanses our souls when we truly seek Him out in fasting and prayer. He sheds the things that are hidden inside of us; things that we may not even realize are there. Just as gold is purified by fire-our impurities are removed and we become cleansed in Christ. Our understanding of what God wants becomes crystal clear. Charcoal absorbs odors, purifies the air, the water and provides heat to keep us warm. It is used in refineries, blacksmith shops and in locomotives to keep them powered and running. Think about it. Study the Word of God. Don’t use a teaspoon either-get a backhoe and dig in! You will be amazed at what you find in the pages of your bible. If you need help-message me. I’m no expert, but I can give you some guidance. The very best thing you can do for yourself is get a good study bible and start reading! There are a lot of great study tools online.