1 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. 4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. 5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. 6 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. 7 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. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 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. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.
Have you ever found yourself in a rut or going no place and wanted to change the way things are going? Have you ever stopped to think that the place you and I currently occupy is the result of the sum total of what we believe? In other words, the things you and I believe have led us to where we are today. There is a maxim that says, “What I believe I become.” Jesus, for his part, came to help people believe differently. In the preceding chapter, John 20:31 says, “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” The entire gospel of John was written with the purpose in mind to help people believe differently. When we are willing to believe something different it opens the door for us to become something different. A different belief system alters our entire make-up and ultimately the outcomes we experience. You do not have to take my word for it, simply read the biographies of people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. These were people who achieved unparalled levels of success because they were willing to believe differently.
Of course if it was just a matter of changing what we believe we could have changed out situations a long time ago. However, before we can get what we want we need to know what we want and we need to be intentional about getting it. Peter declared, “I’m going out to fish.” Peter knew what he wanted and he knew where he was going to get what he wanted. In order to hit a target you have to have a target in your sights. It is hard to hit something you cannot see or that keeps moving. When I first started driving I would get in my car and drive. I saw a lot of places, but I never actually reached a destination because I did not have one. Today, I do not get in my car unless I have a destination in mind. Gas is too expensive and the energy I spend driving around I can apply it to other things.
One of the things that can impede our intentions is waiting around for others. Imagine if Peter would have waited for the other disciples to validate or approve of what he wanted to do. If Steve Jobs or Bill Gates waited for others to approve of their ideas we probably would not have Apple or Windows. Instead, Peter said I’m going and the others said, “We’ll go with you.” Sometimes we are waiting for others follow and they are waiting for us to lead. While we are waiting for others to validate our ideas and approve of the job we are doing they are waiting on us to take the lead and put our ideas into play. Whatever God puts in us He put it there for us to do something with it, not wait for someone else to come along and do it.
Even the best of intentions do not always pan out. The Bible says, “That night they caught nothing.” Parents are funny, especially those that have more than one child. When I think back about my parent’s I laugh today because they used the same parenting techniques with each of us and they got mixed results. They connected with two and disconnected with two. They did not take into consideration that they had four distinctly different children and each required something a little different than the others. Relying on past success or repeating the things we did in the past to achieve success does not always translate into present or future success. Peter and the disciples probably went to the same place where they had caught fish before. They probably repeated everything exactly as they had done it in the past. The result this time was a big fat zero. To compound the situation, here comes Jesus stating the obvious. One of the worst feelings in the world is to not achieve the desired ends you have set out to achieve and then some wise guy comes along and points it out.
The difference between success and failure is not what happens, but what we believe. Failure is not the absence of success, but the unwillingness to try something different. The truth is that acknowledging we have not achieved out desired outcomes is the first step to a turnaround. Before we can become willing to try a different approach we often need to be convinced that our old approach is not working. To help us become convinced, God has to allow us to get frustrated within our comfort zone so that we will become willing to step outside of it, because our blessing is outside of our comfort zone. Peter and the other disciples were operating within their comfort zone and as long as they operated within their comfort zone they caught nothing. Jesus comes along and proposes a different approach. Jesus said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” Jesus pointed out if what we are doing is not working and we want a better outcome then we need to try a different approach.
The appearance of Jesus within the context of this text is very interesting. Jesus functions as the one who facilitates Peter and the other disciples change of outcome by helping them to reposition themselves. Sometimes we miss out on our blessing because we are in the right place, but we are not in the right position. In 1985 Steve Jobs was in the right place, but he was not in the right position. He was working for the Macintosh group. In 1997 God repositioned him when he became the CEO of Apple. Sometimes we need to be repositioned in order to acquire our blessing. The Bible says that, “When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.” After a night of catching nothing the easy thing would have been to just give up and chalk it up to a missed opportunity. Repositioning presumes that we believe God has something better in store for us. When we believe that God has something better we will do whatever it takes to get it. Another interesting point in this text is there was no resistance on the part of Peter and the other disciples. Jesus offered a suggestion they tried it and it worked. One of the enemies to progress is contempt prior to investigation. My mother used to say “Don’t knock it if you have never tried it.” How do we know something will not work if we have never taken the time to see if it will work? Perhaps, the thing that we have been avoiding doing is the one thing we need to do to help us accomplish our goals and achieve our objectives.
Some things will come to us, but other things we have to go out and get them. Even though Peter and the other disciples had caught the fish in the net, the fish still needed to be hauled into the boat and brought to shore. The fish were not going to jump out of the net into the boat, jump out of the boat and into the frying pan. Someone needed to go for it. “Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore.” There are blessings that God in Christ positions us for with the expectation that we will take the initiative to expend the energy needed to reap our blessings. If blessings were easy to come by they would be called handouts and not blessings. Consider that Peter and the other disciples were ready to abandon what they had worked all night to catch for something that was already being prepared. Jesus said, no, go get what you have caught and bring it in. In other words, whatever God has for you it is for you and what God has for others it is for them. In addition, we have to be willing to work and put in the effort to go and get what God has for us. We have to go for it because it is not going to come to us.
The blessings of God are by degrees. God does not bless everyone in the same way, nor does everyone receive the same degree of blessings. The greater the blessing the greater the effort needed to get it. What good is it to be in the area of our blessing or in position to receive our blessing and we are not doing anything to realize it? As long as the fish remained in the net or in the boat the disciples could not eat it, sell it, or do anything else with it. In this situation the fish did not benefit anyone. In order for us to reap and realize God’s blessings we have to be willing to work for them and go for them. Jesus would not allow Peter and the other disciples to claim what was already caught, instead he told them go for what God has allowed you to catch and bring it in. I am sure that Peter and the other disciples were tired and sleepy after being up all night and into the next morning. I am sure the natural inclination was to go get a couple of fish and leave the rest. Instead of opting for the easier softer way, Peter stepped up and went for it all. The Bible says he did not lose anything. When we go for all that God has for us we will not lose anything. When we go for some we are cheating ourselves and we can only feed some, but when we go for it all there will be enough for everyone. Whatever God has positioned us for it is not just for us alone, but God positions you and I so that we can be a blessing to everyone around us. It is time for you and I to go for our blessing. It is time to - Go for it!