Tom: We’re continuing with the gospel. We’re in the Gospel of John; beginning Chapter 21, but Dave, a commercial first.
Now we’ve been talking about your book Seeking and Finding God, but our heart in this program is “search the Scriptures.” We want to encourage people—our heart is for people to get into the Word of God and we encourage our listeners if you’ve never read the Bible before, one good place to start—somebody says well I’m going to start at the beginning in Genesis. Well, that’s fine, but I think if you start with the gospel of John, you’re going to be a little better off. So John:21:1: “After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise showed he himself. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing.”
I like that. I like to go a fishing.
Dave: You certainly do Tom.
Tom: Yeah. “They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.”
I’ve been there Dave. I’ve done that. It’s rare, I have to admit with all humility.
“But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.”
Wow! I don’t fish with a net Dave, but to have experienced this—
Dave: Yeah Tom, I guess we have to read between the lines a little bit. It doesn’t tell us everything. It doesn’t tell us the motives. This is during a period of forty days Acts 1 tells us. “Christ showed himself alive after this fashion, being seen of them forty days.” And so Christ is coming to them, revealing Himself to them and so forth. And yet, I guess they had to go about their daily work as well. They had to live. Christ was no longer going to multiple loaves and fishes for them. Was Peter thinking he was going back to his old profession? You know it almost seems like it, or he just had a hankering to have some fish for dinner. Is he going to sell them? Is he going to support himself? I don’t know, Tom. But anyway, it’s very interesting. The Bible gives us some of these seemingly insignificant incidences. But also we can learn something from this. h
Later in this chapter, it will say, “This was now the third time Jesus showed Himself to is disciples.” Well, that tells us that you can’t just visualize Jesus. We’ve talked about that recently: Calvin Miller’s book The Table of Inwardness.
Tom: Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster.
Dave: By Richard Foster, and there are many others. Inner healing, the whole practice of inner healing that many Christian women have gotten involved in. You’ve got something bothering you—go back, visualize yourself back in the past, see this traumatic experience and visualize Jesus coming along and it will be more than an exercise of the imagination; Jesus will really come, you know. There are many people who have been teaching this. Particularly in so-called charismatic circles.
Tom: Yeah, or Mary, if you’re Roman Catholic. She has been used in this technique.
Dave: And she also had done a few appearances. Quite a few around the world. Mary of this, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of….
Dave: Medjugorje, Our Lady of Fatima and so forth.
Tom: Apparitions, not the biblical Mary.
Dave: Exactly, but if this was the third time Jesus showed Himself, you don’t call the Son of God who is in a resurrected, glorified body at the right hand of the Father on High, you don’t call Him down to be your private guru to have a private session with Him every time you want. You just have to “visualize Him.” That is not the way it works and this would make that very clear.
So this is the third time Jesus showed Himself; He initiates this. Now, if Jesus suddenly appears to you, I’m not going to quarrel about it, but there are an awful lot of people who have an imagination or who have been deceived by a demon impersonating Jesus and led astray by that means. I don’t believe that Jesus is appearing but if He wants to, He can do that. But He’s not just appearing any time they want. That’s the point Tom, I’m sorry, I labored over that too long.
But Peter says, “I’m going to go fishing,” and they say, “Yeah, great idea, let’s go,” and they entered into a ship.
Tom: Maybe just a boat, a sailing vessel, a fishing boat.
Dave: Yeah, but maybe it was the one they left the nets and their father. This used to be their occupation. So, they’ve been traveling with Jesus. They don’t own that boat any more—maybe some relatives of the father, but I guess there are plenty of boats that are available. And apparently they fish all night. They’re really serious about this and they’re not doing very well, and Jesus comes along. They don’t recognize Him. I don’t understand that, Tom. One of the Scriptures says He appeared in another form. He has a body that could walk right through walls. “When we see Him we will be like Him,” it says. We will see Him as He is. We will certainly know Jesus, and yet I guess He could appear to them in a way that—and this is not an appearance; this is not an apparition like Mary; this is the real Jesus in a body of flesh and bones—and here he comes. Well, He’s checking up on them. “Oh, how’d you do guys? You have any meat? Catch any fish? How’s fishing?” And they’ve tried very hard to get back to their old profession at least for this moment. “No, we haven’t done…”
He says, “Let me give you a suggestion. Cast the net on the right side of the ship over there and you’ll find...”
And they do it. Well, they’ve experienced this before. Jesus did that to them the last time Peter went fishing, you remember? In Luke, they fished all night and caught nothing. Jesus said, “Throw the net on the right side,” and they encompassed, and their nets began to break, they have to call their partners James and John, and they haul this thing to shore. They know who this is. Who else but the Lord could do this?
I think Jesus is showing them, “Look guys, you want to be fishermen? That’s your profession? You want to catch fish out of this lake? Well, I can bless you [if] you want to do that, but that’s not what I called you to do. Peter, I told you, follow me, [and] I will make you fishers of men. Now, why are you going back to these things that swim around in this lake? Peter, I’ve got something better for you. Now I can prosper you in that.”
Everybody’s not called to be a missionary, you know. That’s not what it means when it says “…deny yourself, take up the cross, follow me.” He can bless us in the business world, he can bless us as medical doctor, or whatever we are, but Jesus had specifically called these men to be His special witnesses. He’s rebuking them a little bit. I think they’re getting the point.