April 7, 2021 After Easter - Pastor Scott Thornton

John 21:1-7 (NLT)

"Later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. This is how it happened. [2] Several of the disciples were there–Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples.

[3] Simon Peter said, "I'm going fishing."

"We'll come, too," they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night.

[4] At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn't see who he was. [5] He called out, "Fellows, have you caught any fish?"

"No," they replied.

[6] 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.

[7] 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."

Easter was Sunday and what a great day it was as we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For today's devotion I thought of using a passage of scripture of an event that took place shortly after Easter.

In John chapter 21 we come to such an event. The Message paraphrase calls this passage - "Fishing." Isn't it interesting that the sport of fishing is called fishing instead of catching? Maybe it is because those who participate in this sport spend more time fishing than they do catching. What is true for today's fishermen was also true of Jesus' disciples.

When Jesus first met the disciples Peter proclaims that they had "worked hard all night and haven't caught anything" but after following the advice of Jesus they caught so many fish that their two boats began to sink. It was then Jesus told Peter, "Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men." Isn’t it interesting that Jesus used the word catch instead of fish? Anyway, the end result of that encounter was, “So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.” Luke 5:11 (NIV)

It is now three years later and Peter says, "I'm going fishing" and the rest of the disciples exclaim, "We'll go with you." There is nothing in the Bible that says that fishing is wrong. The disciples may have needed to fish just to get something to eat but I can’t help but wonder - “Didn’t Jesus tell them that from now on they would catch men?” and “Didn’t they leave everything to follow Jesus?” and “What are they doing going back to what they use to do?”

And that last question is my question for you and for me. Easter was three days ago. Have you gone back to what you were doing before Easter? Have you gone back to the habits, actions, attitudes, sins, relationships and lifestyle that Jesus delivered you from on Easter? If so, like the disciples after Easter, you are probably finding that without Jesus your life is pretty empty and coming up short.

So now, shortly after the resurrection, the disciples again fished all night and hadn’t caught anything, but they heard a voice from the shore calling, “Friends, did you catch any fish?” John 21:3 (NCV)

Jesus didn’t yell at them. Jesus didn’t lecture them. Jesus didn’t condemn them. Jesus in love and mercy just called them friends. Jesus used a question to help the disciples to understand where they were and how things were going without following Him. Remember it was Jesus who had told them right before the crucifixion, "apart from Me you can do nothing." John 15:5b (NIV)

The disciples, not yet knowing it was the Lord confessed, just as they had three years prior that they had fished all night and had not caught anything. The friendly Voice on the shore instructs these disciples of His to throw their nets on the right side of the boat and they’ll catch fish and that is exactly what happened - their boat was overflowing with fish.

The Bible says that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 (NIV) Even after Easter if you have messed up and gone back to your old lifestyle if you listen, you will hear the voice of the Lord asking you to confess that the way you are living is causing you to come up empty. Today, in love, Jesus is inviting you to come and follow His instructions so that you “may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 (NIV)

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