The Catch

"But when the day was breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. So Jesus said to them, 'Children, you do not have any fish, do you?" They answered, 'No.' And He said to them, 'Cast your net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.' So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus love said to Peter, 'It is the Lord." John 21:4-7

When the exhausted disciples approached the beach, they had no catch to show for a long night's effort of casting and pulling the net into their boat. The monotony and the futility of their effort must have been mind-numbing and heart-breaking. Aching backs, empty nets and growling stomachs combined into a toxic stew of discouragement, in their souls. As the sun rose over the mountains to the east, they heard a call from the beach.

Jesus always knows the condition of His church. Seven times in John's account of The Revelation, Jesus addresses His churches, with the same declaration, "I know!" When He asks a question, Jesus is not looking for information. He already knows the answer. His question probes the heart of the listener, and prepares the way for a blessing. All that one must do is admit, what Jesus already knows.

Jesus asked if the fishermen had a catch. They had nothing to show, and less to brag about. Of course, He already knew that. From His place on the beach, He could see the ripple in the water of a school of fish. It was not unusual for fishermen on the Sea of Galilee to have spotters on the shore, to point out to them what they could not see. Sometimes the catch is so close to the boat, a tired fisherman cannot see his way clear to make one more cast. Jesus encouraged them to do it His way. Those who do, will always have a catch.

The old King James Version says that Jesus told them to cast their net on the "right side of the boat." I like that. Take it from some one who knows what it means to work long and hard, casting a net on the WRONG side of the boat. Working longer at the wrong thing, and rowing harder in the wrong direction, never produces the right catch. Listening to and obeying Jesus, always will.

The disciples had been told by The Risen Christ to wait for Him in Jerusalem. He never told them to go north to Galilee, and take up fishing. Their obsession with doing things their way, and taking up where they left off, was an act of disobedience. Those whom Jesus calls, He disciplines, and sheep who wander from The Shepherd's voice, will hear it, over and over again, until they return to His fold.

While the catch was being hauled into the boat, John had a mini revelation, "It is the Lord." Jesus is always the source of every catch. Fishermen who have to take credit and claim glory for what only Jesus can do, will find themselves weary of effort and empty of net. No matter how much they accomplish on their own, they will always be haunted by the regret, of what might have been. Mark this down. When you stand in the middle of a catch, large or small, "IT IS THE LORD!" What you claim, you will have to sustain. Where Jesus guides, He provides. Tired yet?

When you are in the middle of a catch, don't forget who made it possible. If the catch is in your boat, and Jesus is on the beach, get to Jesus! He is your focus, and your reason for living, not the catch. By the way, there is more where that came from. Prayer prepares you for the catch. Cast your cares on Him. He cares for you. See you at the beach.