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Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Rick Steudler, with a Palomino Trout, caught in Pine Creek PA
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"Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn" (John 21:11).
It seems anyone who likes to fish enjoys telling about their fishing adventures. Last week Brooksyne and I were enjoying lunch with our friend, Rick Steudler, and he shared about his recent fishing expedition. He pulled out the above photo and told us about the size of his amazing catch (6#10oz, 24.5".) He was conveniently carrying the fish photo in his front shirt pocket. He excitedly recounted his trout fishing experience in northern Pennsylvania the first day of fishing season.
In fishing stories we're very specific about how big they were, how many fish we caught, and details about the catch. And, by all means, we must get a photo of ourselves holding the largest fish! If we have email we can then send it to our friends like my friend, Bill Mosebarger, in northern PA does. We men especially like to tell our stories and share photos from our prizewinning catch of fish. Wives pull out photos of their children and grandchildren while men pull out photos of their fish, turkey or deer.
The fish story recorded in today's text took place sometime during the forty day period after Christ was resurrected and before His ascension back to heaven. It is one of twelve specific post-resurrection appearances by the risen Lord recorded in the Scriptures. Seven of the disciples led by the experienced fisherman, Peter, had gone fishing overnight and caught nothing. I know many will state, “I just enjoy going fishing whether I catch anything or not” but I believe most fishermen really want to catch fish, the bigger the better!
The next morning Jesus saw them from the shore and shouted out some good fishing advice. They wisely followed his instructions which resulted in so many fish they were unable to haul the net in. They went on to join Jesus for the first recorded men's breakfast. They enjoyed a good meal together as Jesus shared some powerful teaching with them.
But I always enjoy a detail in this story that's part of any real fish story. Peter had jumped into the water and trudged in to meet the Lord. Then he went back to the boat to assist the other disciples in getting the catch in. John, who wrote this account, was one of the disciples on the boat and shares this authenticating detail: "It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn."
We have a description of the catch (full of large fish), specific number (153) and an interesting detail (even with so many the net was not torn). I am glad, in the providence of God, that this story is in the Bible. It's a great picture of the way God meets all of our needs.
Physically, the disciples were nurtured by the fish and bread Jesus prepared over the fire of burning coals. Socially, they enjoyed the fellowship of one another as they talked about their miraculous catch over a warm breakfast. Financially, Jesus filled the net so full of large fish that the disciples could not even haul it in; it had to be towed by boat. (Their wives would likely be treated to a “meal out” that evening.) Spiritually, the disciples learned that obedience to the Lord’s instruction brought about great reward. It also laid groundwork for the important truths Jesus taught following their breakfast.
Not everyone reading our message today goes to a stream, river, lake or the ocean to catch fish. But we are all called to be fishers of men. Let’s cast out our faith in the sea of life and pray for a good catch of men and women, boys and girls who will decidedly follow the Lord Jesus Christ. Now that’s a great story to share with others around the dinner table!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer: Jesus, we’re reminded of Your watchful eye as we go about our daily routine. As the fishermen needed a catch of fish You met their need, over and above what they could have anticipated. Help us to listen to Your wise instruction, walk faithfully in Your righteous paths, and trust You to meet everyone of our needs; physically, spiritually, socially, and financially. We thank You in advance for interceding to the Father on our behalf and supplying all our needs. Amen.
Today's fish story is found in John 21:1-14
It is interesting that the cross was not adopted as a symbol of Christianity until long after the death of Jesus. In the early church age the symbol previously most used was the fish. Christians used the sign of the fish as a secret sign for a long time before the cross came into general usage. When two travelers would meet on a path, one would take his staff and draw an arc in the dirt, if the other responded with an opposite arc drawn through the previous one, then they both knew where each other's faith stood.
My fish picture is not as dramatic as Rick's.
This is a striped bass I caught last year on Chesapeake Bay.
photo of the machine from the John Deere site. Two were working the field at the same time. They were extremely fast and manuevered the tractors like a zero-turn lawn mower. I greeted the drivers after they were done and asked them some questions and commented "It sure looks like your were having a good time!"
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Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Finding songs specifically related to today's theme is a bit difficult but here are several interesting videos.
"Fishers Of Men" Video A neat acapella bluegrass song with outstanding vocals and great pictures. Turn your volume up if you can and sing along!
"Come And Dine" Video (second song) This song brings back memories of my early years in pastoring when I met with a group of other pastors monthly and we had lunch following our meeting. Our leader, Pastor David Selleck, always had us sing this song as we prepared to eat!
"Sing To The King" Video Finally for our reader's praise and worship edification today here's a sing we sang in our church this last Sunday that Brooksyne and I really enjoy.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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