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Gone Fishing

 John 21:1-11

Have you ever been in a predicament of running out of Petrol (Gas), you see in the distance a Petrol or Gas Station only to find a notice on the door that says, closed Gone Fishing. Of course not, no shop or gas station could afford to close, to go fishing, but 60 years ago things were different, people put fishing before work, some would take one day off each week. In Great Britain when we had a closed season for fishing, the season closed on the 14th March each year and reopened on the 16 June. Nearly every keen fisherman would take the first day of the season off work to be the first to cast his or her line in the water on the first day of the season.

The disciples were born into fishing, it was in their blood even though it was a very hard job, they lived for It, and, it was a job that would feed their families and hopefully pay the Roman Taxes.

Their Shepherd had been put to death, and although the disciples including Peter had seen their Lord after He had risen again, the disciples must have felt lost, sheep without a shepherd are soon scattered and will go back to the work that they once had but that was soon to change, their lives and the world would change and would never be the same again, Praise the Lord!

V1 This now was the third time that our Lord appeared to seven of His disciples at the sea of Tiberias (Sea of Galilee) and Jesus manifested Himself in this way.

V2 Of the seven Disciples, there were Simon Peter, Thomas (Didymus), Nathanael (Bartholomew), James & John (The sons of Zebedee), a two other of His disciples, probably two from among the seventy who were present.

V3 Jesus had promised that they would not be left alone and that He would send them a Helper (the Holy Spirit) who would bring to remembrance all that Jesus Had taught them

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
John 14:16

 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. John 14:26

Like all people, even the disciples showed human weaknesses, this was seen when they all deserted Jesus when He was arrested, even Peter denied knowing His Lord, not once but three times, Thomas refused to believe that Jesus had risen from the dead unless he could see the nails prints in His hands and His feet and put his hands into His side  were the spear had been thrust into our Lord's side by the Roman Soldier, and now they all lived in great fear of from the Jewish leaders.

Now they were eagerly awaiting the promise of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, what can they do now, you can almost feel the excitement dulled with a little fear and anguish.

Peter who often jumped in without thinking as we see in the scripture:


From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.

23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, "Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men" Matthew 16 21-23

Remembering that Jesus had not long since ask His disciples a question and Peter had answered, Thou art the Son of the Living God.

13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am”?

14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

15 “He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am”?

16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”

18 “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

Matthew 16:13-20


Peter should have felt ecstatic at the words of Jesus, but unfortunately Peter jumped in without thinking of what Jesus was saying to His disciples that the Son of Man must suffer many things.


When the disciples were told that the tomb was empty and the body of Jesus was no longer in the tomb, it was Peter and John who ran to the tomb. John arrived first and stooped at the entrance just looking in, Peter was close behind John and not knowing if there were any dangers in the tomb, he ran straight in without thinking about the consequences.


















And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.

37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.

38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?

39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

40 And he said unto them, “Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” Mark 4:36-41

41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?


V4-6 Lake Tiberias (John 20:1) or the Sea of Galilee as it is Known is mentioned a number of times in the bible under three other names. In the Old Testament the sea of Galilee is also known as the sea of Chinnereth (Num 34:11; Josh 12:3; 13:27) possibly named from its harp like shape.)















A lone figure was standing on the shore just as the day was breaking watching this one boat returning after a very hard nights fishing, when the boat with its seven occupants on board got closer to the shoreline, the lone figure shouted out, (Children, you do not have any fish do you?”) The disciples replied back, NO! Somewhat disappointingly.

I must admit every time that I read this passage, I try to imagine how the disciples must have really felt. Now as a fisherman once, I learned to enjoy the scenery, God’s own creation, I loved to catch the fish but wasn’t too disappointed if I didn’t catch any fish at all. During a winter time I have be known to cut holes in the ice but my fishing was for fun, the disciples had been fishing all night, hoping to catch enough fish to feed their families, how would you really feel. I would personally have been very tired and sick to the stomach. Not only hadn’t they caught anything they now had another few hours mending and drying their nets. The lone figure then told them “Throw their net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.”

Without any arguments they cast their net on the right side of the boat, they couldn’t pull the net into the boat because of the great number of fish that had been caught in the net.


Peter must now have recognised that the lone figure on the beach was Jesus, as this was the second time that Jesus had told them to recast their net when they had caught no fish. The first time, Peter realized that he was a sinner.


5 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret,

2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.

3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.

4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, "Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught."

5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.

6 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.

7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.

8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.

9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:

10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, "Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men." Luke 5:1-10

King James Version (KJV)

Public Domain


V7 The disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “it is the Lord,” probably confirming what Peter already was thinking. Remember that I mentioned that Peter rushed into things without thinking, he quickly put on his out garments and dived into the water. Actually, the bible says that Peter threw himself into the water, I don’t know what it would be like swimming with your clothes on, I should imagine that it would be very difficult as Peter’s outer garments must have become heavier and heavier as they filled up with water. Peter must have been a very strong swimmer as he swam just over one hundred metres to reach the shore. As the Apostle Paul later said to keep your eyes fixed on the prize ahead. Peter did much more than that he kept his eyes firmly fixed on Jesus which is a lesson for everyone today, never take your off Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith. Not very delicate, throwing himself into the sea but his prize was waiting for him on the seashore, the greatest gift of all, to be reunited with Jesus His Lord and Saviour.

As Jesus foretold that their grief would soon turn to joy.


19 Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, “Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me?

20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” John 16:19-20


V8 The remaining six disciples came to shore on the boat which was only just over one hundred yards, the hardest part of their final journey to shore must have been dragging the net full of fish.

The time that it took the boat to land, Peter had some special time with Jesus. Peter must have been very heavy-hearted knowing that he had denied Jesus, not once, not twice but three times.


Jesus said unto him, “Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.” Matthew 26:34


V9 When the disciples landed on the shore, they noticed that everything had been prepared for their arrival. There was warmth from the cold morning air as there was a charcoal fire burning brightly with fish and bread already laid on the fire.

Peter on seeing the charcoal fire, the memories of once sitting around a fire not too long before, the guilt must have been terrible for this poor soul to bear.


New Testament Scholar, Richard B Hays says this during one of his lectures.


The materiality of the symbolism in the Gospel of John helps present a message of a restored past and vision for the future, New Testament scholar Richard B. Hays said at Samford University Thursday, Sept. 6.


Hays spoke as presenter of this year's Howard L. and Martha H. Holley Lectures: New Testament Voices for a Contemporary World in Honor of Dr. William E. Hull. Dr. Hull is Samford research professor and retired provost.


The materiality of John's symbolic world is a reflection of his fundamental commitment to the incarnation of the Word, said Hays, author of A Moral Vision of the New Testament and professor of New Testament at Duke Divinity School.


Hays quoted Archibald MacLeish's Ars Poetica, which ends "A poem should not mean, but be," to propose that what the poet says of poetry is also true of John's Gospel.


The fourth Gospel, perhaps more than any other, narrates the gospel through the use of vivid, concrete images that embody the Word, said Hays, citing its "trick ending."


In the concluding chapter 21, the disciples have returned home to Galilee and gone fishing to in an effort to return to the familiar and regain their balance after their interlude with Jesus.

"But, it's not so easy to go home again. After life with Jesus, nothing is quite the same anymore," said Hays, noting the futility of their early morning fishing expedition until Jesus instructs them to cast the net on the right side of the boat. The success causes the light to dawn also in the disciples' eyes as they disembark on the beach.


The story pivots on the small narrative detail of the charcoal fire they encounter beside the mysterious figure standing on the beach.


The Greek word for charcoal fire, anthrakia, said Hays, appears only one other time in the New Testament, and that is in the account of the arrest and trial of Jesus, when Peter denies being a disciple.


For Peter, the fire causes the past to come rushing back and the scene becomes a story of memory, restoration, and pain. "Confronting the risen Jesus is not easy for someone who has denied Him," said Hays.


"In this recognition of himself as betrayer, Simon Peter stands before the charcoal fire as a symbol of us all.


What betrayals have we committed? Our culture has a problem with truth-telling about the past," said Hays, nothing hollow non-apologies offered by celebrities who disclaim responsibility for their actions.


"Forgiveness and restoration is possible only when we acknowledge it is precisely the real me that has wronged others," said Hays. "Healing and restoration comes only through looking in the mirror of memory and seeing our lies and evasions for what they really are."


Yet, the moment of memory brings restoration. Jesus, as he stands before the fire with his meal of fish and bread saying, "come and have breakfast," is offering reconciliation and renewed friendship beyond the betrayal, explains Hays.


But Simon Peter discovers that the renewed relationship carries a new purpose: to feed others.


"We are given a restored past and vision for the future. We are to tell the truth about our past, to eat the good breakfast that Jesus gives, and to share that life-giving food with others."





Sometimes in our Christian walk, we may face some challenges, some from unexpected quarters of society but remember that Satan will often challenge and accuse you, but stand firm on the word of truth and always in love have the scripture within your hearts and your minds, the Holy Spirit will give to you the rights words to say.


During a training class I was asked “who would I like to be in the scripture? I explained that I couldn’t choose just one but would choose Peter and Paul.”

Immediately after the class I was approached by two elderly Christian sisters who reminded me that Peter had denied Jesus three times and Paul had arrested Followers of Jesus and had them put in jail, which was true, but as I explained yes Peter denied his Lord, every time that we miss an opportunity to tell someone about Jesus Christ, we also are denying our Lord. Paul committed a terrible sin by arresting the followers of Jesus. Peter & Paul was both forgiven just as we are forgiven and should we continually ask for forgiveness as we fall by the wayside, Jesus is always there with a helping hand to lift us back on our feet with a reassurance that we are forgiven, WHY! Because He loves us and died to take away our sins.


Peter and Paul were used mightily by our Lord and carried our Lord’s message of salvation wherever the Holy Spriit guided them to go. Yes they sinned against our Lord, haven’t we all. Let him without sin cast the first stone.


  • For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

  • For the wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23a

  • But the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23b

  • But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

  • That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. Romans 10:9


Those scripture verses are taken from the book of Romans, (The Roman Road.) Wonderful verses for Evangelism.



V10 On landing the fish, Jesus said, “Bring some of the fish which you have now caught.”


V11 Simon Peter immediately went up to haul the net to the shore, a task that would have been hard for one man but the fishermen were a team and as a team the task of hauling the fish ashore was made much easier. When the disciples hauled in the net, it was full of large fish, a 153 large fish was miraculously caught.

Could you ever imagine the struggle that they must have had, pulling in a net full of fish, all fighting to get free and to swim away into open water.


As I was once fishing from my wheelchair on a flat piece of grassland, I hooked into a ten-pound carp which swam to the other side of the lake. It became a battle of strength, it was a powerful fish as it fought to get free, although my breaks were secure and my feet on the floor as secondary breaks, me and my wheelchair was being pulled slowly to the waters edge. Eventually the fish gave up its fight and came slowly to the net.


The fish was safely set free by my son, where it could grow and battle another day. That was only one fish, it must have been a struggle for Simon Peter to pull the net to the shore full of large fish.


No one knows exactly why this verse mentions the number of fish, it says a hundred and fifty-three, and although there was so many, the net was not torn.


Why, was the number of fish mentioned, was it that important. To the writer, the Apostle John, it must have been very important, unfortunately, we may not know the real explanation until we are in heaven where everything will be made known.


I have heard so many different explanations, everyone of those explanations could be true but one truth has just come to me as I was writing this, the nets are spiritual nets and are being are cast over the fields that are ripe unto harvest and bringing the lost soul’s home to our heavenly Father.


Could you imagine, the sea could be symbolic of the world, the net being symbolic for the word of God and the fish represents the people who will be saved by hearing the gospel of Christ preached to them.


“Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.”

John 4:35b


We are called to witness to our neighbours, one day we will stand in front of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Will He say those precious words to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”


Serve our Master well, we live but to serve Him!


God bless you all.


Bishop Dennis Hayes, Church For All Nations

27 April 2024


Copyright © Church For All Nations Copyright © 2024

Sea of Galilee.jpg

It was Simon Peter who jumped in and said to them, “I am going fishing.” Now not knowing an awful lot about fishing when using a net on a boat as I was always a rod and line fisherman, I would    personally think that it would be impossible for one man to take any fishing boat out onto lake             Tiberias (Sea of Galilee), steer the vessel, throw the fishing net into the lake, keep the boat steady and  to pull in the net full of fish that is of course if he was fortunate to catch any fish. The Sea of Galilee,  although the largest fresh water lake in Israel, was a very dangerous place to be in any size of boat.

The weather could change suddenly and whip up such a storm with very high waves.

Simon Peter knew his friends and could count on them joining him for this night of fishing together, this could be the last time that they cast a net into the water to catch fish, once the promised coming of the Holy Spirit had filled their lives, they would cast their spiritual net to rescue souls out of the clutches of the devil.

The lake of Gennesaret once in Luke 5:1, this name was given from the flat district lying on its west coast.

John 6:1 &21:1, calls this vast lake, the sea of Tiberias which the modern day Arabs have retained that name, Bahr Tabariyeh.


The Sea of Galilee is the largest freshwater lake in Israel. Located 214 meters below sea level, it is the lowest freshwater lake on ​Earth and the second-lowest lake in the world (after the Dead Sea).

I will always remember as a young teenager, when I wasn’t fishing, I would spend much of my time after school sitting quietly on the banks of the reservoir watching those who were already fishing. The older fishermen had a lot of experience about fishing and was always willing to share their knowledge to anyone who was interested. The first question that was always asked, have you caught anything!

Calm waters.jpg
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