Go Fish!

by Robin Currie

Based on John 21:1-19 NRSV

Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”

What do we do when we’re overwhelmed by deadlines and projects? Get lost in a novel or binge watch a TV series? Run or work in the garden or sleep? We do the emotional equivalent of Comfort Food – whatever feels most secure and does not require thinking.

Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”

The other disciples beat him to the boat. It was the chance to do something, anything, that was so natural to them that body memory would take over. They did not want to think – so they went fishing.

But the fish were not to be had until dawn when a voice called, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat.”

And the net got so full they couldn’t haul it in. They were not thinking about anything but fish, so they didn’t investigate the source of the advice, until someone looked up and said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”

At that moment of recognition, our attention is fully caught by Peter. He throws on some clothes and jumps in the water, and swims to shore. Typical Peter – always the loudest, always the first.

But there is another important disciple on board. In our text he is referred to as “That disciple whom Jesus loved. “

Back in the boat, John recognized Jesus and named him. But rather than follow Peter into the water, he finished hauling up the fish, and rowed the short distance to shore with the others.

Today’s gospel doesn’t say Jesus makes any distinction between Peter and how the other disciples arrived on the beach. In fact, when they finally got there, Jesus welcomed them all and said, “Bring over some of those fish you brought in.”

When Peter saw the Lord, he threw caution to the wind and dived in. Peter can whip the crowd up and get them excited about something all new. He runs to the tomb. He declares his devotion. Vigor, energy, spontaneity – that’s Peter.

But it is John who saw and recognized Jesus. John sees what the others don’t. John shows a reflective personality. Confident that Jesus would not disappear and maybe thinking the Lord would like some fish, he rows to shore. This type of faith, too, is important.

Wherever we are in our walk today, most of us are a mixture of Peter and John. How we respond and live may vary over time and circumstance. Sometimes our faith will be as energetic as Peter’s, jumping with excitement to respond to a new idea or direction God is revealing in our lives. And, sometimes, we’ll observe with John, rowing the boat of faith with a steady and persistent purpose.

At the end of this Gospel: Jesus said, “Follow me.”

No matter how we approach living out our faith, the goal is the same: follow Jesus. Follow Him into the world of our daily lives, the playground squabbles, the inconvenient interruptions, and the corporate conquests. But know this: we are all in the boat together. Jesus is standing on the shore, calling us, beckoning us: “Follow me!”

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Rev. Dr. Robin Currie learned story sharing by reading the parables of Jesus. Her book The Very Best Story Ever Told: the Gospel with American Sign Language was the 2020 Serious Writer Book of the Decade. Robin writes stories to read and read again!

Join the conversation: With whom do you most identify: Peter or John?

2 thoughts on “Go Fish!

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