In the Bible, in the Book of John Chapter 21, we can read the story of Jesus’ appearance to the disciples for the third time after his resurrection. The disciples were fishing in the Sea of Tiberias and had toiled all night without a single catch. This was especially frustrating to Simon Peter and the others, since their earthly occupation was that of being fishermen. At morning’s dawn, Jesus called out from the shore line to the tired and discouraged fisherman, “Have ye any meat?” They replied, “No.” Let me pause here to ask you a question. Have you ever toiled and labored for something and in the end you found your labors both fruitless and in vain? I know I have. These men were no different.
Jesus then called back out to the fisherman a second time with his famous words of instruction and encouragement, “Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find.” What a solace to know that when we cast our nets on the right side of life, we shall find our place of abundance in mercy and grace…Amen.
At this time, the disciples were not even aware that the man on the shore was in fact Jesus. But, it is interesting to me that they did not argue with the man, but simply followed his instructions and tossed their nets back out on the “right side of the ship.” Was it his voice that captured their obedience? Or, was it his strong sense of assurance that captured their weary thoughts? Whatever it was; they obeyed. Their unwavering obedience reminds me of the scripture, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10: 27) Thank you sweet Jesus that one day I heard your voice, and I followed. We then read that due to the men’s obedience to the voice of the one standing along the shore line, they soon found their nets overflowing with an abundant catch.
No doubt, these tired and hungry fishermen went from being discouraged to being thrilled and filled with excitement over their good fortune. It is written that after the catch, the Apostle John looked back at the shore and recognized the “man” as being Jesus. When he happily announced to the others in the boats that it was truly their resurrected Savior, Peter immediately leaped from the boat and swam to the shore. He was so glad to see his friend again.
When the fishermen returned to the shore with their catch, they discovered that Jesus had breakfast already cooking on an open fire. Notice, Jesus didn’t have to toil all night to catch his fish! Amen. As the men ate their well prepared breakfast at the hands of Jesus, a question was asked of Peter. Jesus asked, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?” In other words, Jesus wanted to know if Peter loved him more than the fish he was eating and those he had just caught. Jesus wanted to know that He was worth more to Peter than the earthly things provided to him. Peter’s reply, “Yes, thou knowest that I love thee.” Jesus replied, “Feed my lambs.” Jesus repeats his question a second time, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?” Peter again replies, “Thou knowest that I love thee.” Jesus replies, “Feed my sheep.” A third time Jesus asks, “Lovest thou me?” And Peter responds, “Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.” Jesus replies, “Feed my sheep.”
Jesus was tenderly calling Peter into the ministry as a Shepherd of the flock. Peter would soon become the first preacher to preach a great revival where over five thousand souls were saved and added to the church. Peter would also soon learn that it’s not always easy to feed sheep and lambs. They can have a mindset of their own. Shepherds have to be very gentle, caring, persistent, and patient when feeding new babes in Christ as well as some older, more matured converts.
In the Bible, we read where Jesus compared his followers, those who believe, to sheep and to lambs. The Bible teaches us that Jesus is the Good Shepherd who is lovingly gentle, caring, persistent, and patient as he feeds us daily with his benefits of love, forgiveness, grace, mercy, and kindness. (John 10)
We, like sheep, have all gone astray and tend to wander away from the fold and from the “right side of the boat.” Today, you might be a sheep who is in need of love, forgiveness, patience, kindness, and persistence. God is the Great Shepherd who will never leave nor forsake you (Matthew 28:20). Just as Jesus appeared to the tired and discouraged fishermen on the Sea of Tiberias, His words of comfort can be found today in the Word of God; the Bible. The blessed scriptures can appease and soothe our hearts, minds, and souls guiding us to “cast our nets on the right side of the boat” where we, too, will find an abundant life of joy and mercy; rest for our weary souls and mind.
Prayer: “Thank you Lord, that you appeared unto me as a child and guided me to cast my net on the “right side of the boat.” Today, I pray for those who may still be struggling on the sea of life that they, too, will find solace and rest for their souls through none other than the blessed name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”
“Lovest Thou Me?” Yes, Lord….
Remember, God Loves You,
Lin T. Rollins, Author