(Editor’s note: Christiaan, still, here. William is finishing up his recovery and should be back soon!)
“So Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore. There were 153 large fish, and yet the net hadn’t torn.”John 21:11 (NLT)
We’re in John again! You can check out the previous days by clicking on the verse. We’ve looked at how in John 21:22 how after being restored, reconciled, and ordained, Peter was still concerned about others, and Jesus had to remind him not to compare himself to others. In John 21:7 we see how, in spite of Peter’s past betrayals of Jesus, when he saw Jesus on the shore, he jumped out of the boat and went towards him. In John 21:9 we looked at the lengths that Jesus went to not only reconcile and restore Peter but did it in a way that removed all doubt from Peter, allowing him to commit to his calling without worrying about his past mistakes.
Today, I want to take a less academic approach to the effect that Jesus’ restoration had on Peter. But first, John chooses to mention how many fish the nets had caught. There’s a lot of jibba-jabber about what this could secretly mean, and biblical codes that spell out secret messages… I think the most simple explanation is the most correct. John was a fisherman and catching 153 large fish was a feat that isn’t achieved often.
In John 21:6, Jesus, after asking the disciples whether or not they had caught anything, said, “‘Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!’ so they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.” John realizes it’s Jesus, and Peter jumps out of the boat, heads over to Jesus, the rest of the disciples follow, and after Jesus and Peter have time to chat for a little, Jesus calls for Peter to bring over some of the fish. So he grabbed the net and pulled all the fish ashore.
It’s intriguing to me that prior to being with Jesus the disciples, including Peter, couldn’t haul the net in. Yet, after meeting with Jesus for a little Peter was able to haul in the net by himself. There’s some thoughts that this feat is even more amazing then it comes off. When the disciples have an issue bringing the fish in, they’re in the water, the fish are buoyant, it’s the lightest that the fish will weigh. However, when Jesus tells Peter to bring the fish in, he drags it onto the shore by himself, where the fish loose the buoyancy.
Solomon wrote in Proverbs 17:22, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” (NLT) being able to be welcomed and reconciled with Jesus lifted such a burden off Peter that he had supernatural strength. I believe that Peter showed us a literal example of Isaiah 40:31 (NIV), “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.” I also believe this is a great example of how when God calls you to do something that seems impossible, he’ll give you the ability to do it, even if by your own strength, you’ve failed multiple times before.
To close out this devotion, I wanted to leave you with a few verses to hopefully encourage you in these times, so that like Peter, you’ll have faith and trust that whatever God calls you to do, you’ll be able to do it no matter what.
Psalm 138:3 (NLT), “As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength.”
Joshua 1:9 (NLT), “This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Philippians 4:12-13 (ESV), “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Psalm 18:39 (NLT), “You have armed me with strength for the battle; you have subdued my enemies under my feet.”
Psalm 27:1 (KJV), “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
So, to quote Paul in his letter to the Ephesians, “Now all glory to God, who is able, though his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Thanks for all your prayers and support as we petition God for the fully restoration of William so he can continue his work here and as God calls him!