April 10, 2016
Introduction: In this particular post resurrection story both Peter and John the beloved disciple play important roles. Peter as the leader of the disciples continues to provide guidance in what they are to do. Even after his ‘fall from grace’ upon denying Jesus three times before his Master is led away to die upon a cross, his fellow disciples still accept him as their chief. John, the beloved disciple, the one who Jesus loved, is seen as the one with the keenest insight into who Jesus is, and now is able to recognize their Master even when the other disciples are blind as to who this truly is who stands so close to them and yet because of their lack of sight is still so far away.
I) Peter decides it is time to go back and fish. We do not know why. Could it be that he has given up on being a disciple and has decided to follow his former way of life before he had met Jesus? Or was this a subtle and even desperate attempt to show that Jesus is now no longer needed because they can now catch fish on their own, since in the Gospels the only way the disciples can catch fish is with Jesus’ help. Perhaps this could even be a desperate and even unconscious attempt to make Jesus help them and be with them in some way since they can only catch fish with their Master’s help.
II) Regardless of the motives, they fish all night and can catch nothing! What may have been their thoughts? Did they quietly wonder to themselves if they had lost their ability to fish? As they went back to shore did they wonder now what were they going to do in order to make a living? A man calls to them and asks if they have any fish, perhaps wanting to buy some for his family. They say no they have none. He invites them to throw their net over the side of the boat and see if that brings them any luck. They obediently do as he has suggested. Suddenly the net is filled with large fish, so many they cannot bring it back into the boat and are forced to drag it in to shore in the water.
III) Now the beloved disciple recognizes Jesus, and tells Peter, who takes a rope and ties up what little he has on and jumps into the water to swim to Jesus. The disciples drag their catch of 153 fish up to shore. Jesus asks Peter to go and bring some more fish to complete the meal. The sum total of 154 fish could be divided into two groupings totaling 77 each which then gives a complete number illustrating that our work with Jesus completes or compliments the work we are given to bring people to God.