Fishing is a main source of income for coastal villages and families in Sri Lanka.
This harbour near Tangalle was a colourful sight with masts decorated in fishing flags. Coming into shore of an afternoon with a meagre catch would no doubt be disappointing and troublesome.
Peter (the most rambunctious of Jesus’ disciples) was a professional fisherman up until Jesus said ‘come follow me.’
Fishing was Peters trade, and yet Jesus the carpenter upstaged him twice. It’s quite amusing.
The first occasion was when they met in Luke 5, Peter was coming to shore after an unsuccessful night and Jesus suggests throwing the net on the other side of the boat. It might have seemed odd receiving fishing advice from a Carpenter come Rabbi but they ventured into the deeper waters of faith and were rewarded with a haul that almost sank two boats.
But my favourite is told in John 21.
Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.”
When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”
As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.
The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”
So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn.
Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.
Oh I love it. The manner of Jesus is generous, humorous and familiar. Peter caught on quicker than usual, the others were a bit hesitant about the mystery man on the beach inviting them to a cooked breakfast.
There are four things I draw from these stories:
A) Jesus is not simply the greatest fisherman, he understands the catch.... that the fields are ready for harvest; that the haul is simply waiting
for us to be positioned correctly. Once positioned he is the Lord of bringing it forth!
B) The nets won’t break under his miracle. We will have the strength required.
C) We will catch what we don’t expect under his miracle.
D) He asks us to eat a good breakfast 😉 & find rest.
The greatest fisher of fish and men