You Don’t Have Any Fish (by Carley Evans)

Part 2 of this morning’s post: A Mighty Big Piece of Wood.

Jesus calls out to Peter, “Twin,” the sons of Zebedee, Nathaniel, and two other disciples who are out in a boat on the Sea of Tiberas, fishing. Jesus says to them, “You don’t have any fish, do you?”

Fishing is what Peter does for a living — well, what he does for a living before he becomes a fisher of men. At any rate, Peter is skilled at catching fish. Likely Peter has fished since he was a toddler with his father or uncles or brothers.

Jesus is telling His disciples what they ought to know already — they don’t have anything.

Once back on shore, Jesus offers them a breakfast of fish and bread, both of which He provides. The 153 fish Peter and the others catch on the right side of the boat — once Jesus tells them to drop their net on that side — are extra provisions provided by none other than Jesus.

So, the fish on the fire and the fish in the net are not from the efforts of the fishermen. As Jesus rhetorically asks, “You don’t have any fish, do you?”

Thank You heavenly Father for providing everything we need for our salvation, our sanctification, our glorification. You are all we have and all we need. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

A Mighty Big Piece of Wood (by Carley Evans)

“That’s a mighty big cross you have there, but the question is — do you have faith, Charlie?”

The ultimate question — what good does the cross of Jesus Christ do you without a personal faith in Him as Lord and Savior? The obvious answer — no good at all.

Anyone can hold up the cross against evil, but only the one who holds it up in belief can overcome. The cross is only a symbol of Christ’s sacrifice, and in and of itself has no power.

After Jesus’ resurrection, He appears on shore of the Sea of Tiberias at daybreak. Simon Peter, “Twin”, Nathaniel of Cana, the Zebedee’s sons and two other disciples are there. Peter up and decides to go fishing. Everyone says, “We’re going with you.” They all go out in the boat, but catch nothing. From the shore, Jesus calls out to them, “You don’t have any fish, do you?” They do not recognize Him, but they say, “no” anyway. He tells them to cast their net on the right side of the boat. So Simon Peter and the others do what this stranger tells them. And they catch a “large number of fish,” so many “they are unable to haul it in.” And the disciple whom Jesus loves, says to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Peter, who has no clothes on, ties his outer garment around him, leaps into the water, and presumably swims to shore. The other disciples come in the boat, dragging the large catch.

When they reach shore, Jesus is sitting at a charcoal fire cooking fish on it. And He has bread, too! He invites them to have breakfast.

No one dares to ask, “Who are you?” because they know it is the Lord. (John 21:1-14, HCSB)

I can imagine there was an order to the recognition of Jesus by the disciples. Obviously the disciple Jesus loves is the first to know Him, then likely Peter. After that, I wouldn’t venture a guess. Until each believes, he does not recognize the Lord. It does not matter that the other disciples know Jesus; each must recognize Him for himself.

A personal faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior gives the cross its power over evil; otherwise the cross is “just a big piece of wood.”

If It Is You, Lord

During the storm, Peter doesn’t recognize Jesus from the boat; as a matter of fact, Peter and his companions are terrified, thinking Jesus is a ghost. This ghost is walking atop the waves.

Jesus has been praying. He’s told the crowds to disperse, and has gone “up on the mountain by Himself to pray.” (Matthew 14:23) We aren’t certain how long Jesus prays, but Matthew’s account indicates “when evening came, He is there alone.” (Matthew 14:23) And in the time He has been on the mountain, the boat has traveled far from land. Peter and the other disciples are “a long way from land” and “the wind is against them,” meaning they can’t return to Jesus. He must come to them. (Matthew 14:24) And, of course, Jesus does walk out on the waves to join them in the boat.

At some distance, however, Peter and the disciples see Jesus and believe He is a ghost, a disembodied spirit likely planning them harm. They are terrified, shouting out their false belief. Jesus hears their fear. He reassures them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” (Matthew 14:27)

Peter takes the lead. He tests, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” (Matthew 14:28) Jesus goes along with Peter’s request, and commands him to come out of the boat and walk to Him on the water. Peter obeys. He steps out of the boat and walks all the way to Jesus. Again, we don’t know the distance but it can’t be extremely far — Jesus has heard His disciples shouting over the wind. When Peter becomes aware of the wind and the storm, his fear overwhelms his faith and he begins to sink. Peter intelligently asks Jesus to save him. And, of course, Jesus saves Peter. Jesus also points out Peter’s lack of faith. When Jesus and Peter get into the boat, presumably by walking together across the wave-tops, the wind ceases. Then, the other disciples exclaim, “Truly You are the Son of God.” (Matthew 14:33)

Lord God, we thank You that You are willing to save us even when we are too terrified to even recognize and know You fully; that You are able and desirous to rescue us from our fear and from the danger of sinking even when we show such little faith in Your power to save us. Help us Lord to know You, to know Your love, its depth and faithfulness. In Jesus’ Name, amen.