I am not a fisherman—in fact, I have never caught a fish in my entire life! I know what some of you are thinking. “John, if you went fishing with me—we would catch fish!” Well, I have gone fishing with people like you and guess what? No fish!
One time in Oklahoma, my father-inlaw, who was an expert bass fisherman, guaranteed me that we would catch fish if I went with him. After six hours of fishing without so much as a nibble, we decided to quit only to realize that the boat motor was dead. We had to row back to the boat dock. When we arrived there, the boat trailer had a flat tire! I’m telling you—I am a curse to fishermen everywhere!
In John chapter twenty-one, Peter announces that he is going fishing. Now Peter wasn’t looking for a little time off for recreation. He was totally frustrated with the ministry and was quitting. He was going back to the occupation that had served him well before the Lord called him. However, as he and the other disciples (they too were discouraged and went with him) fished that night, verse three tells us that they caught nothing. Knowing Peter’s personality I’m sure this frustrated him, and when he was asked by someone from the shore if he had caught anything, he responded with a blatant, “NO!” The voice through the darkness called, “Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find.”
Peter probably rolled his eyes at this suggestion, but perhaps to prove this intruder wrong, let down the net on the right side, and immediately 153 fish were caught in the net. Seeing this “miracle,” Peter recognized that this voice could be no one else but the Lord. When they got to shore, Jesus had already prepared breakfast for them and invited them to “Come and dine.”
When the meal was finished, Jesus asked Peter three times: “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?” Who were the “these?” When Jesus asked that question, He was undoubtedly pointing to the fish left over on the fire or perhaps still struggling for life in the nets near Peter’s boat. Now, Jesus was not asking Peter if he loved Him more than fried fish! He was asking him if he loved Him more than what this world had to offer him.
Jesus already knew the great potential Peter had to serve the Lord. (That potential is obvious when you read the Book of Acts.) But the Lord had to first have a commitment from this wayward disciple. Once Peter was willing to lay aside his agenda, his will, his plans, and his selfish desires, God could use him; but not before he was willing to love with an unconditional commitment.
How about you today? Have you surrendered your all to God? Have you put some conditions on your commitment to Christ? The Apostle Paul served the Lord with a reckless abandon. Why? Because in 2 Corinthians 5:14–15 he said, “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”
God would have you leave the fishing holes of the world today. He said in Matthew 4:19, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Peter only caught 153 fish that night on the sea of Galilee, but on the day of Pentecost God gave him three thousand! Peter found a much better fishing hole. So where will you fish today?