GREAT FISHING STORY
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
MEETS PETER WHERE HE IS AT
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.
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
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!
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.
FOLLOWS JESUS TO DEATH - (Jesusí Death and His Own Death
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
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)
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.
great fishing story begins again, and even as Peter
denied the Lord three times, the Lord comes to Peter
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
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
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."
this first appearance:
spoke peace over them (thus rebuking their fears).
commissioned them with the same calling that He had been
imparted to them the Holy Spirit.
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.
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
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.
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)
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."
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:
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."
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.
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."
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.
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!
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.""
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
QUESTION REMAINS - SO WHY ARE THEY FISHING?
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
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
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.
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.
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."
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.