Gone Fishin’ – John 21:3

Gone-fishing-sign“Simon Peter said, ‘I’m going fishing.’ ‘We’ll come, too,’ they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night” (John 21:3, NLT).

After Jesus’ death and resurrection, He appeared to the disciples and other people several times before He ascended to heaven. On the occasion described in the last chapter of the Gospel of John, Peter and several of the disciples had returned to Galilee and were taking up their old occupation of fishing, and apparently, not being very successful at it.

Early in the morning Jesus appeared on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, but the disciples didn’t recognize Him at first. He shouted to them to throw their net in on the other side of the boat. When they dutifully but doubtfully complied, they caught a net full of large fish.

When they finally recognized Jesus, Peter jumped out of the boat and hurried to the beach to greet Him. Jesus had prepared a breakfast of fish and bread for the disciples. After breakfast, Jesus took Peter aside and a well-known conversation took place between them.

Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him and told Peter three times to nurture and take care of the community of Jesus’ followers: “A third time he asked him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, ‘Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Then feed my sheep'” (vs. 17). The three questions and three imperatives were reminiscent of Peter’s three denials prior to Jesus crucifixion.

It seemed that Peter was feeling sorry for himself because he had failed Jesus and Jesus was urging him to get over it. So Jesus was trying to demonstrate to Peter that he needed to move forward and accomplish God’s plans and purposes for his life. Peter’s personal feelings of guilt seemed to be holding him back from doing what Jesus wanted and needed (and spent three years preparing) him to do.

Although we may make mistakes and experience failure, nothing changes God’s love and calling on our lives. The love and commitment we have to Him because of what He has done for us should surpass any feelings of guilt that we inflict upon ourselves.

When you are Jesus’ follower and belong to Him, you don’t get to stop doing what He has called you to do simply because you’re not feeling it. You don’t get to take a hiatus from your heavenly assignment. You don’t get to give up and go fishing.

Because Jesus needs you to do your job for Him.

So, if you love Him, keep on serving Him. Yes, if you love Him, don’t stop serving Him. If you really love Him, then keep serving Him!

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