November 25, 2020
John 21:6-11 (NIV)
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.
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. 9 When 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.
“Follow me,” he told them in those earliest days, “and I will make you fishers of people.” In a stunning flash of deja vu, Jesus does the miracle of the great catch of fish yet again. He completes the cycle. First century fishermen fished at night because the fish can see the nets in the light of day. No-one catches fish in the daylight—except Jesus.
No-one turns water into wine—except Jesus. No-one feeds five thousand people with five loaves and two fish—except Jesus. No-one raises a man from the dead after four days in the tomb—except Jesus. And we could do this all day.
Still, we are so bent on doing our own thing our own way. We love church consultants and missional strategies and worship styles and biblical frameworks and our endless exhausting ideas. We will do it all night long, repeatedly, come up empty and call it faithfulness. When will we finally realize Jesus plus zero equals everything? When will we start with Jesus? When will we humbly renounce our grandiose plans and dare to believe the impracticality of impossible things in Jesus name alone? When will we finally risk our reputation on Jesus alone—which is another way of asking—when will we become fools for his sake?
We are at the end of the fourth and final Gospel and still fishing and still catching nothing. When will we give up on all our best plans and risk everything on Jesus alone?
These are the painful questions of holy discontent; the path of the long journey to the end of ourselves—the way of the Cross. That’s the journey where we learn to trade in our love of results for love of people.
Jesus said it so plainly. “Greater things will you do than these because I go to the Father.” After thirty years on the job, I still believe him, and yet I want to ask, “Jesus, when do we get to do the greater things?”
Maybe I’ve got thirty years left; maybe only three. Only He knows. I do know this. Whatever time I have left I am going to go all-in and risk it all on Jesus, which means risking it all on loving those he came to save. He’s worth it. They are worth it. After all, at the end of a long night of trying everything you know to do and coming up empty—that’s when he strides onto the shoreline of our lives and turns it all around.
Abba Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus, who is risen from the dead and ascended at your right hand. Thank you for this great fishing story. That’s what I want you to make of my life—a great fishing story. Come Holy Spirit and bring me to the end of myself, the letting go of all I think I have to offer; where I find the only thing worth offering is Jesus himself. We pray in his name, amen.
1. How do you evaluate the investment of the rest of your life in league with Jesus? What would you trade for some real fishing stories?
2. When they are standing around at your graveside service, what fishing stories would you like them to be telling?
3. What is the level of your holy discontent these days? Or are you still struggling with being a frustrated malcontent with everyone and everything else?
For the Awakening,
P.S. As I am wont to say at the end of a Daily Text series, the Daily Text is free and yet it is quite expensive. This is a wonderful way to support the cause. And please know, I earn no royalties on these books. It all goes back into the mission of sowing for a great awakening! The Daily Text series on the Gospel of John is on PRE-ORDER TODAY. It’ll be regularly priced at $19.95, but for now we are offering a deal as big as the book. Only $9.95 per copy through November 30 (50% off!). At that rate, you can afford to sow them extravagantly.