JESUS CALLS HIS DISCIPLES (HIS CHURCH — YOU AND ME) TO –“FISH FOR MEN/WOMEN AND FEED HIS SHEEP.” JOHN 21; LUKE 5: 1-11
Jesus told the disciples and later an angel told Mary and the other women to tell the disciples that He would appear to them in Galilee (some 75 miles north of Jerusalem; Matt.26:32, 28:7). And after He appeared to them in Jerusalem, they went to Galilee awaiting His appearance there.
We are not sure why Peter and the others went back to fishing for fish (instead of men). Peter did still have to provide for his family (Mark 1:30 says he had a wife). Maybe they were just waiting for Jesus to appear. Once again they fished all night and caught nothing. Then Jesus, the carpenter and Rabbi (not a fisherman) told them to how do it. Surely they remembered this same experience earlier (Luke 5:1-11) when He called them to leave their nets and fish for men. They obeyed and He blessed them abundantly. We can learn several things from this: 1) Always involve Jesus in your business and He can use it both to provide for you and as a platform for evangelism — fishing for men. 2)They –“caught nothing” – Apart from Jesus we can do nothing spiritually and eternally valuable. (John 15:5) It wasn’t skill that made the difference but obedience to His will that brought forth His power. –“Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” (Psalm 127:1; also see 1 Cor. 15:58) 3) The Lord is always calling His church (us) back to evangelism (fishing for men) and discipleship (feed My sheep). Natural fishermen catch living fish and they quickly die. Spiritual fishermen catch dead fish and the Lord gives them life (Zoe). (Col 2:13)
We see the Lord’s mercy and kindness as He publicly reinstates and re-commissions Peter, for Peter had publicly denied Jesus. He even created a similar scene around a charcoal fire to heal Peter’s memories of that awful night when he denied His Lord. (Luke 22:54-62) Self-condemnation and false guilt can haunt us even after confessing our sins and receiving Christ’s forgiveness. Healing of Memories and Healing for Damaged Emotions by David Seamands are two good books on this subject. As the song says, –“He breaks the power of cancelled sin. He sets the prisoners free.”
Peter became a humble and strong leader of the church after knowing the weakness of his flesh and the power of Christ’s grace working through Him. (See his two letters – First and Second Peter) –“ But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (See 2 Cor. 12:7-10)
The work of Christ, evangelism and discipleship, is now the work of the church. Jesus said, –“As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit.” –“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (John 20:21-22; Acts 1:8)
We are the church. The church is more than local churches with appointed leaders. It is the body of Christ and Jesus is the head. (1 Cor. 12:27; Eph 5:23) It is the family of God, the temple of the Holy Spirit, the bride of Christ, all of which refer to people not organizations. Thus Jesus’ call to fish for men, to feed His sheep and to make disciples is a call to every believer not just the work of local church staff and missionaries.
John 21:19-23 – Beware of comparing yourself to others. In this text Peter is concerned about what will happen to John and Jesus sharply rebukes Him. –“What is that to you,” Jesus says to Peter. We are to be concerned about the Lord’s clear will for us, –“follow Me” and not His will for others. And we are not to be followers of followers of Jesus but followers of Jesus Himself. Though others may help us learn of Him we must seek Him directly and follow His unique call on our life.
Peter and John both proved to be great leaders of Christ’s church but with different gifts. God’s Word makes it clear that He is the one that gives gifts to the church (Eph. 4:11; 1 Cor. 12:11) and different gifts to different people. He then calls us to work together for the –“common good” (1 Cor. 12:7). –“ Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”(Eph. 4:15-16) And since Jesus is married (to the bride of Christ) we can’t love Him without loving His bride — God’s people. (Matt. 22:37-39)
Do you believe that Jesus can run your business better than you can? How is that evidenced to you and to others?
Do you see your work and your workplace as a place to fish for men (evangelism) and to feed God’s sheep (discipleship)? How do you go about it in your daily business practices?
Do you feel like Peter, that you may have some false guilt from past sins and failures that Satan may use against you to keep you from being bold and active in the Lord’s work? The mercy Jesus showed Peter, to reinstate him and use him, is still available to all who will receive it. (Heb 4:14-16) (Also see Healing of Memories and Healing for Damaged Emotions by David Seamands)
Do you know that you and all believers are full-time workers in the kingdom of God? Vocational ministers, pastors and missionaries, etc., don’t have a higher calling they just have a different calling. What is your unique calling? (See LifeKeys by Kise, Hirsh and Stark to guide you in preparing your Christian Life Purpose Statement)
The church (ecclesia) means –“called out ones who assemble together.” Where are you meeting and working together with other believers to fish for men and feed God’s sheep?