The Problem with the Net

We don't have a great deal of information about what happened between the resurrection and when Jesus ascended. I’d like to look at one of the records that we know happened during this period. 

(NIV)John 21: 1 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We'll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

So Let’s get this straight, Peter and Thomas (Also called Didymus)  Didymus mean twin Nathanael and the sons of Zebedee So now we need to Identify who these people are so we know who we are talking about. Peter of course is the apostle Thomas was also an apostle.

John 11:16   Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.

Thomas is not remembered for this that he was willing to go and die for Jesus he is remembered for doubting that he had been raised.

John 20:24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

John 20:25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

Often you will hear people say “Don't get to vaunted in your faith because you could be the next Thomas.” Well I have never seen Jesus Christ in his resurrected form yet I believe that God raised him from the dead so that argument holds no water.

Now I also want you to note that Thomas did come thru. He did believe in the end.

John 20:26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: [then] came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace [be] unto you.

John 20:27   Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust [it] into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

John 20:28 Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. god

So Thomas called Jesus God so that means he is God? Nope it was a sign of respect like calling a king “Your Highness” It is showing respect to someone who has been placed over you. Like Moses and Arron.

Now notice also that all twelve had seen Jesus in chapter 20 of John.

Okay I want all the principals here to be identified. So let’s see who the sons of Zebedee are according to the word.

Matthew 4:21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James [the son] of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.

This is where Jesus called John and James.

So far everyone we have identified was an apostle. Chosen and called by Jesus Christ himself.

Our last culprit here is named Nathanael of Cana in Galilee. He is a disciple not an apostle. But he was known because they listed his name.

Okay so in chapter 20 we have the incident with Thomas doubting that Christ had been raised. Now we are looking at the very next thing talked about and what do Thomas Peter James and John say? I go a fishing and that is Peter who was the head over the ministry to the circumcision. So James and John surely must say “Oh no Pete don’t do that”, nope, they reply we are going with you. These men had just a short time before had seen Jesus Christ in his resurrected body at least three times. Now I realize it may have been a few days but it couldn’t even have been more that 39 or 40, because Jesus ascended 40 days after the resurrection. If you read through the Old Testament you will find that Israel had a problem with being faithful even after seeing the most spectacular things. They have Passover in Egypt and see the Red Sea parted, the entire Egyptian Army drowned, and then they believe those who say they shouldn't pass over the Jordan because the people on the other side are to powerful. David sought after God, then Solomon forgets God for a long time. This goes on and on through the Old Testament. Israel was always forgetting God.

So we have the heads of the church to be here going back to fishing. Let’s see what happened when Jesus Had called these men.

Mat 4:18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
Mat.  4:19  And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
Mat 4:20  And they straightway left [their] nets, and followed him.
Mat 4:21  And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James [the son] of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.
Mat 4:22  And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

Well that gives us some information but being good bible students let’s see if we can find out anymore.

Mark 1:16 Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers

18  And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.

19 And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the [son] of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets.

20 And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.

Okay so the same basic information but it feels like something is missing. These men were leaving the boats and nets behind. They were forsaking everything they knew. They were leaving behind a life, the only life they knew and following someone who was preaching along the beach. There had to have been something more we have not yet been told.

Luke 5: 1 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, (That is, the Sea of Galilee)

2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.

3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. 

4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.

5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.

Okay now we are getting some more information. Jesus gets into Peter’s boat and they cast out a ways so that Jesus can teach. Jesus teaches whatever he taught and tells Peter cast out further and let down your nets notice the s on the end of the word, nets, that means let down more than one. Now notice what Peter says “We have been doing this all night. Implied is and we know what we are doing we aren’t preachers, we fish all our lives long and your telling us how to fish?” Then Peter thinks better of this so he decides to humor Jesus. Nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. Did Peter follow the word that was given?. NO, NO, NO, he didn’t he let down a net only one, just so no one could say he ignored the words of Jesus Christ. Let’s see what happens.

6And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.

7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.

8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.

9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:

10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.

11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.

Well seems this preacher knew what he was talking about. The catch was so large he had to call out James and John. Even with 2 ships they had trouble bringing in the catch, imagine if they had followed the word to the letter.

We so limit God by our lack of faith or trust. God is so willing to give you things you need and want and we like stubborn children refuse to take what we are offered. Let down your nets I think I’ll make that my policy from now on and not limit God by only letting down my net.

Well in the end these men came through, they forsook all that they knew they forsook their lives to follow Jesus Christ.

Let’s get back to John 21 I believe we left off with I go fishing. So maybe he didn't completely forsake that life he kept it as a fallback position.

(NIV) John 21: 1 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
   “No,” they answered.

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.

Hmmm, this is starting to sound familiar.

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.

Well someone recognized him and told Peter, It’s the lord. So Peter jumps into the water after putting on his garment and swims back. You got to admire his reaction even though he is out in left field he races to get back on track as fast as he can. Peter did nothing in a small way he was either so right that you could not be any better or he was out in left field, no in between.

Now when they get to shore there is a fire burning with fish and bread.

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
   “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
   Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
   He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
   Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
   Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
   Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”

Notice it is Feed my Lambs, then, Take care of my sheep and lastly feed my sheep. It was the same question but three different responses. The KJV translates all three responses as feed, I think they have it correct here in the NIV; feed, take care of, then feed again. There are two different Greek words.

It says Peter was hurt. A lot of times reproof stings. It is what you do after that that determines the quality of your believing will be. Do you change or do you let it bother you forever?

18  Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

This is always the call to us “Follow me”. We are to follow what God desires us to do. He wants you to teach, you teach. He wants you to heal, you heal. He wants you to raise the dead you raise the dead. He wants you to go to the hardware store go don’t ask when or why, go.

20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”
22  Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” 23 Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”

Don't read into things, things that are not there. We should be more concerned with following what God wants us to do rather than worrying about what others are to do. God will tell your neighbor what it is that he needs to do.

24 This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.
25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

So that is how you solve the problem of the net.  Be sure when God says let them down you use all your nets.

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