Sandy Warner ~ ~ swauthor@usa.net ~ ~ www.thequickenedword.com


THE GREAT FISHING STORY

5/22/01

Hi Loved Ones,

I wrote the following several months ago and waited upon the Lord to bring me confirmation as to when to send it and that has come to pass this week. The following love story is a message for those who either have been rejected by a church, or who have been used by the Lord in the past, but feel they have disqualified themselves from ministry for various reasons. If you are one, I pray that you read this story with renewed interest, because I believe the Lord is going to take you around the circle one more time and rescue you back into your calling!

JESUS MEETS PETER WHERE HE IS AT

Peter was a fisherman by trade. He knew fish, he knew boating, he knew nets and he knew the waters. Peter had so much experience with fishing, that there was probably very little that surprised him. The following story is found in Luke 5:1-11 in the NLT.

"One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. He noticed two empty boats at the water's edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there."

++ Notice that Jesus used PETERíS boat to preach. Now read on.

"When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Now go out where it is deeper and let down your nets, and you will catch many fish." "Master," Simon replied, "we worked hard all last night and didn't catch a thing. But if you say so, we'll try again." And this time their nets were so full they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking."

++ Notice that Peterís mindset was based upon what he knew about fish. Fish come to the surface to feed at night and they had fished through the night in a certain area with no success. Now it was daylight, and this teacher wanted them to try again. Bonanza, what a shock!

"When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, "Oh, Lord, please leave me--I'm too much of a sinner to be around you." For he was awestruck by the size of their catch, as were the others with him. His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed." Jesus replied to Simon, "Don't be afraid! From now on you'll be fishing for people!" And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus."

++ Because Peter was intimately acquainted with fishing, this catch was much more than a surprising big catch, this was a miracle. This so gripped Peterís personal life that he left it all behind to follow this teacher who called himself Jesus.

PETER FOLLOWS JESUS TO DEATH - (Jesusí Death and His Own Death to Self)

After Peter followed Jesus for 3 years, he so loved and trusted Jesus he was willing to die for this man, Whom Peter now recognized as the Messiah. The Messiah was the fulfillment of all the Old Testament promises, and Peter knew this. However Peter had a preconceived mindset as to how the Messiah would fulfill these Old Testament scriptures. His mind was so well grooved that even when Jesus plainly told the disciples that He was going to die, Peter did not accept it. And when Jesus was taken, Peter ended up denying three times the very one Whom he was willing to die for, even though he had vehemently declared he would not. (Mark 8:29 - 35, Matt 24:34,35,74,75)

This sin was deeply grievous for Peter. He had clearly heard Jesus say, "If anyone acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will openly acknowledge that person before my Father in heaven. But if anyone denies me here on earth, I will deny that person before my Father in heaven." (Matt 10:32-33 NLT)

When it was all over, Peter was left heartbroken that he had lost the One Whom he knew was the Messiah. Peter was ashamed and grieved that in the hour that Jesus needed him the most, he had denied Him. He was left sifted not understanding how his life could have so radically changed in the last three years, only to see it all crumble. Just one week prior, the streets were filled with powerful praises to Him Who triumphantly entered Jerusalem. And Peter had not only witnessed all Jesusí miracles the past three years, but Peter himself was sent to heal the sick and cast out demons with his own hands. At the height of all this, he was now hiding behind closed doors, afraid the same ones who took Jesus would also kill him. Heartache, fear, confusion, and deep disappointment grieved his soul. Peter lost faith in his preconceptions about Jesus, about Jesusí Words, about his own calling, and about how anything applied. Peterís assurance died with Jesus. Peter came to the end of himself and died that day too.

THE RESCUE BEGINS

++This great fishing story begins again, and even as Peter denied the Lord three times, the Lord comes to Peter three times.

Mark 16:1-8 NLT

The next evening, when the Sabbath ended, Mary Magdalene and Salome and Mary the mother of James went out and purchased burial spices to put on Jesus' body. Very early on Sunday morning, just at sunrise, they came to the tomb. On the way they were discussing who would roll the stone away from the entrance to the tomb. But when they arrived, they looked up and saw that the stone--a very large one--had already been rolled aside. So they entered the tomb, and there on the right sat a young man clothed in a white robe. The women were startled, but the angel said, "Do not be so surprised. You are looking for Jesus, the Nazarene, who was crucified. He isn't here! He has been raised from the dead! Look, this is where they laid his body. NOW GO AND GIVE THIS MESSAGE TO HIS DISCIPLES, INCLUDING PETER: Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you before he died!" The women fled from the tomb, trembling and bewildered, saying nothing to anyone because they were too frightened to talk. Then they reported all these instructions briefly to Peter and his companions.

++Notice that the angel made a specific point of making sure that Peter was given the message along with the disciples. That suggests two things: One, either Peter was not with the disciples or he no longer considered himself a disciple. And two, the angel specifically wanted Peter to know that his name was mentioned by divine appointment. The angel knew Peter was miserable and running away from all that had occurred the last three years.

1ST APPEARANCE

John 20:18-29 NLT

"Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, "I have seen the Lord!" Then she gave them his message. That evening, on the first day of the week, the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! "Peace be with you," he said. As he spoke, he held out his hands for them to see, and he showed them his side. They were filled with joy when they saw their Lord! He spoke to them again and said, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." Then he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone's sins, they are forgiven. If you refuse to forgive them, they are unforgiven." One of the disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin ), was not with the others when Jesus came. They told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he replied, "I won't believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side."

++ In this first appearance:

1. Jesus spoke peace over them (thus rebuking their fears).

2. Jesus commissioned them with the same calling that He had been called.

3. Jesus imparted to them the Holy Spirit.

4. Jesus told them they too would forgive sins. Although we are ALL to forgive sins, notice that forgiving sins in this context was in regards to being sent in ministry.

2ND APPEARANCE

Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. He said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don't be faithless any longer. Believe!" "My Lord and my God!" Thomas exclaimed. Then Jesus told him, "You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who haven't seen me and believe anyway."

++ In the second appearance Jesus personally addressed Thomas who had not been there in the first appearance. These two passages confirm that Peter made it a point to be with the other disciples, according to the original Word from the angel via Mary, since Thomas was the only one mentioned as missing in the first appearance.

3RD APPEARANCE

So now the disciples have their hopes restored for Jesus is alive, their fears have been rebuked, they have been commissioned, they have received the Holy Spirit, and they were told they too were to forgive sins. So why do they decide to go fishing?????? The following story takes place after these appearances. (John 21:3-23 NLT)

"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."

++ Here we go again! This story sounds very familiar, it has happened three years before. They have been out all night and caught no fish. This is a perfect set up for the Word of the Lord to rescue and deliver Peter, and not only Peter but the other observing disciples. Jesus knows exactly how to reach Peter and bring him back to his calling. Jesus begins by returning to the same setting that had once so captivated Peter that he was willing to leave it all behind to follow Him:

"At dawn the disciples saw Jesus standing on the beach, but they couldn't see who he was. He called out, "Friends, have you caught any fish?" "No," they replied. Then he said, "Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you'll get plenty of fish!" So they did, and they couldn't draw in the net because there were so many fish in it. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and swam ashore."

++ Peter was intimately acquainted with this scene. Heíd been here before. So what did Peter do this time? Instead of falling to his knees for his sinfulness as he did 3 years prior, Peter forsook his boat, forsook the fish, forsook the miracle of the fish, forsook his fishing buddies, forsook the nakedness of his shame, forsook his dashed hopes, forsook the confusion, forsook the pain of lossÖ because the One Whom he loved had suddenly appeared. He couldnít get there fast enough.

"The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only out about three hundred feet. When they got there, they saw that a charcoal fire was burning and fish were frying over it, and there was bread. "Bring some of the fish you've just caught," Jesus said. So Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore. There were 153 large fish, and yet the net hadn't torn. "Now come and have some breakfast!" Jesus said. And no one dared ask him if he really was the Lord because they were sure of it. Then Jesus served them the bread and the fish. THIS WAS THE THIRD TIME JESUS HAD APPEARED TO HIS DISCIPLES since he had been raised from the dead."

++ When Jesus told them to go get some of the fish, notice it was Peter who promptly responded. Obviously Peter didnít respond because he was interested in how many fish they caught or even because he was hungry. He had already revealed his passionate eagerness to be with the Lord. And now by the fire, Peter was so eager to be with Jesus, I am sure he did not want to leave the scene or miss even one word that Jesus spoke! But at His Word, Peter responded and retrieved some fish. Peter has a willing heart to follow the Lord.

THREE QUESTIONS

"After breakfast Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," Peter replied, "you know I love you." "Then feed my lambs," Jesus told him. Jesus repeated the question: "Simon son of John, do you love me?" "Yes, Lord," Peter said, "you know I love you." "Then take care of my sheep," Jesus said. Once more he asked him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was grieved that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, "Lord, you know everything. You know I love you.""

++ Before, Peter had denied Jesus 3 times, fulfilling what Jesus said he would do. And now Jesus has appeared 3 times and asks for his loving confession 3 times. Peter replied that yes he loved the Lord more than fishing, yes he LOVED the Lord. The final time Peter acknowledged the truth he carried in his own heart that Jesus was the Son of God Who knew everything; of course Jesus knew Peter loved Him!

"Jesus said, "Then feed my sheep. The truth is, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked and go wherever you wanted to. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will direct you and take you where you don't want to go." Jesus said this to let him know what kind of death he would die to glorify God. Then Jesus told him, "Follow me.""

++ Jesus hit the nail on the head. He addressed the very reason why Peter had denied Him: Peter had been afraid for his own life. Peter was afraid to die. And now Jesus once again prophesies into Peterís life. Last time Peter adamantly refused when Jesus prophesied he would deny Him 3 times. This time Jesus tells him exactly the way he will die (hands stretched out on a cross) and calls Peter to follow Him in like manner. This marvelous story is the most loving story of Jesus knowing exactly how to capture and keep a heart, when one is running away from their calling!

THE QUESTION REMAINS - SO WHY ARE THEY FISHING?

So if the disciples have received their commissioning to be sent out, why are they fishing? It was not because they were afraid for their lives because they were outside fishing, they were no longer hiding behind locked doors. It was not for lack of the Holy Spirit, for He had breathed upon them. It wasnít because they didnít know how. They followed Jesus for 3 years and watched Him role model. They had practice themselves doing the same things.

It was not from guilt. Jesus clearly spoke about forgiveness of sins in the 1st appearance. And Peter had been very aware of his sinfulness from the first calling. Remember in the first fishing story, Peterís response to the miracle of the fish harvest was, "Oh, Lord, please leave me--I'm too much of a sinner to be around you." In the second fishing story, Peter leapt out of the boat to be with Jesus. Peter knew he had been forgiven for his guilt.

I perceive that the reason the disciples went fishing is because Peter was their leader, (the one who had been given the keys), he had a strong personality and they naturally followed his idea. I donít think they had any hidden motives for going fishing, other than it sounded like a refreshing idea. Peter however is another story. And the Lord knows his heart, and that is why He sets this whole scene up twice.

Three years prior He stands in Peterís boat to preach, then takes them out for a fishing miracle in Peterís boat. It is Peter that beheld the Lord and fell at His feet the first time after the boat filled with fish. Peter had a radical calling back then, and a radical three years. And I perceive that now Jesus knows that Peter is toying with the idea of returning to his old life. After all, he knew fish, but this ministry stuff he wasnít so sure about anymore. I believe Peter (in spite of the fact he knew he was forgiven) felt that he had messed up so badly, that he had disqualified himself and he felt a lot of shame for this.

This whole story is a great love story of the Lord rescuing Peter and the disciples to return to their calling, which was to become fishers of menÖ and to feed His sheep. I perceive that this story is also for the church today. We were commissioned. We received the Holy Spirit, we worked all night and caught no fish. Prophetically speaking, it is now the 3rd day, and He is coming to us again saying, "Cast your net on the other side and try again." He is asking for our loving and willing commitment and saying, "Please feed My sheep."

Lord I pray for those who were once used by You and who are now still hiding behind closed doors. I ask that You heal their wounds, their disappointments, their wounded trust, their fears, their lack of confidence, their shame. Lord it isnít about them and what they can or can not do, because You WANT us to come to the end of ourselves. It is all about YOU and what You can do through us. I ask that You will do a divine rescue - no less than a miracle You did for Peter, and restore the wounded ministers. Lord You said to Peter, after he had turned that he would strengthen his brothers. I pray that You will rescue these now that they may turn and strengthen us all in Jesus Name.

Lovingly,

Sandy

 

 

 


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Words from the The Quickened Word are excerpts from the journals of Sandy Warner.  To better understand how God speaks, read Sandyís book, ď101+ Ways God Speaks, And How to Hear Him.Ē  Website:
www.thequickenedword.com    Email:  swauthor@usa.net  
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