Day 45: Lets go fishin'

Day 45: Lets go fishin'

John 21:1-14

Fishing has an interesting hold on many people—they love it. Today, at the end of John’s Gospel we hear Peter saying, “I’m going fishin’” (verse 3), and the gang joins in.

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My dad loved to fish. Truly. It was not until I was an adult that I “got” him. Not the fishing bug, but my dad. I was out fishing with my dad, my sons, and my wife. We got a fish on the line, and my dad turned into a 5-year-old. I had seen this hundreds of times before (yes, we fished that much) but didn’t get it. Catching a fish gave him joy—pure joy.

I don’t believe recreational fishing is what Peter and the gang were aiming for, when they went fishing. They were returning to their livelihood. They knew that Jesus had risen from the dead, but they did not understand their role in the plan. (I give John (Jesus’ BFF) credit. He too admits that he has “gone fishin’”.)

People often criticize the disciples for going fishing. I don’t think we need to. They went to do what they knew, and they were not quite sure yet what their role in this whole “Jesus Movement” was.

Jesus arrives. He does not scold them for fishing. He helps them. He also gently engages them. He even cooks them breakfast!

In John’s Gospel we do not get the “Go into the world and make disciples” directions that are included elsewhere (Matthew, Mark, and Luke-Acts). That is not a problem. Most scholars think John had access to that material and he has set out to present Jesus from a different perspective, the perspective of a best friend:

  • a best friend who has come to know that this Jesus is the Savior of the World.
  • a best friend who wants to show this moment of Jesus restoring another dear friend, Peter.

This episode provides us a wonderful window into God and his followers. Even when we do something that is unforgivable, God comes and finds us. 

This “fishing motif” reminds me of where Jesus tells the disciples “he will make them fishers of men”. He, in fact, does. The Church these 2,000 years is a testimony to their effectiveness.

Yet I think for John, this scene is less about fishing, and more about being “caught and released” by Jesus… caught in his love… and released for the Father’s work.

P.S. I’m fishing… fishing for some feedback. I am looking to see what in this blog worked for you, and what didn’t. Can I “hook you” to give me some feedback?  Simply click here. Five respondents will be chosen at random to receive a copy of my Romans reading guide by mail! Winners will notified by email, and posted on Wednesday, April 11 on my blog and social media.

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