“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. 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.” – John 21: 7
Peter first surrendered his life to Jesus after Jesus performed a miracle from his very own boat. Peter had been unsuccessfully fishing all night, when Jesus showed up. Asking to use Peter’s boat as a floating pulpit, Jesus taught the crowd that had gathered along the shoreline. When He finished, Jesus asked Peter to cast out the nets. Now, of the two of them, Peter was the professional fisherman, and this was not the right time or way to go about it. But Peter gave in out of respect for “the preacher.”
Sure enough, they pulled in so many fish that their nets began to break! Even help from a nearby boat couldn’t bring in the massive haul. This miracle was the moment that Peter recognized that Jesus was different. Peter saw how unworthy, flawed and sinful he was to be standing before the Lord Jesus. But Jesus, in all His love and mercy, reached out to Peter saying, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” From that moment on, Peter left everything and followed Jesus. (Luke 5:1-11)
Fast forward three years and Peter has seen it all: from miraculous healings, provocative teachings, and massive popularity to widespread hatred that would ultimately lead to Jesus’ death on the cross. And at the very moment when all felt lost, Jesus appeared before Peter and the other disciples – completely resurrected from the dead.
Undoubtedly still processing all that had happened, we again find Peter and six other disciples back out on the water after another uneventful fishing trip. Suddenly, someone calls out from the shore, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” Nope, not this time. The man tells them to cast the nets out once more from the right side of the boat. Doing so, the disciples struggled to haul in the net because of the great catch. 153 big ones!
That’s when things began to click. John first recognized Jesus for who He was: the risen Lord. Immediately, Peter jumped into the water and swam to shore. You can be sure that Peter flashed back to that first fishing miracle when he left everything to follow Jesus. Jesus was about to remind Peter of that original calling to become a fisher of men. Isn’t it just like Jesus to remind us of our calling – especially when life is uncertain and the next step unclear?
Do you need to be reminded of your God given calling in life? Maybe you’re walking through a confusing or difficult season and the way forward seems anything but clear. Think back to when you first gave your life to Christ. God hasn’t changed. He hasn’t forgotten. Have you?