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October 18, 2020 | Doug Sauder
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“At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was. He called out, ‘Fellows, 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 some!’ So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it. Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It’s 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 headed to shore. The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only about a hundred yards from shore. When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them—fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some 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. None of the disciples dared to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ They knew it was the Lord. 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.”—John 21:4–14 (NLT)
Have you ever heard the term signature move? It’s a common term in sports, pro wrestling, comic books, dancing, and other areas. Michael Jackson’s moonwalk, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s skyhook, the Incredible Hulk’s thunderclap, Pikachu’s thunderbolt, and Macho Man Randy Savage’s flying elbow drop are all examples of signature moves. Often, the person and the move become synonymous. It’s the move they’re known for!
In today’s passage, we see an all too familiar sight. Jesus is multiplying fish! Let’s look at the details.
The disciples are out on the boat trying to catch some fish, but they’re having trouble. I can just imagine James turning to his brother and saying, “The fish just ain’t bitin’ today,” and Andrew turning to Peter and saying, “Keep it down, will ya? You’re scaring the fish away!” Then a stranger standing on the beach calls out and basically says, “Caught anything, fellas?” And they reply, “Nope. The fish just ain’t bitin’ today.” Then the Man gives them a fishing tip: “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!”
I’m not entirely sure why they listened. Maybe they thought he saw something they couldn’t from where He was standing, maybe they just couldn’t help but listen to this stranger who seemed oddly familiar. Who knows. But what we do know is they listened, and the fish were caught in huge quantity.
And the second this happened, they knew it was Jesus! Multiplying fish is kind of His signature move. And so, He invites them to come to shore for breakfast—fish and bread!
Now, in keeping with the idea that every miracle has a deeper meaning behind it, let me share the deeper meaning here. If you remember, the first words Jesus spoke to Peter and his brother Andrew were, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19 ESV). So, the deeper meaning here points us back to those first words.
On our own, we can try to fish for people—to win people, to bring people to salvation—but the fish just won’t bite. But with the Word of Christ, by His command and with His Spirit leading, guiding, and directing our movements, we can see our boat, the Church, overflowing with fish! We can see our nets filled. When we are led by the Spirit and operate at His command and in His power, then and only then can we become successful fishers of men.
This miracle was just one more example for the disciples, and us, to work, move, cast, and preach at His command and in His power. All we need to do is be ready to hear His voice!
DIG: What’s your signature move?
DISCOVER: What does it look like to work, move, cast, and preach at the command of Jesus? How can you be more attentive to His voice?
DO: Make your signature move to move at the command of the Spirit!