Friday, February 08, 2013

February 8, 2013 … Do WHAT??!!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2013 - Day 39

Passage of the Day: John 21: 6a [in the context verses 4-6] [NKJV] … 4 At dawn the disciples saw Jesus standing on the beach, but they couldn’t see who he was. 5 He called out, “Friends, have you caught any fish?” … “No,” they replied. 6 Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get plenty of fish!”  So they did, and they couldn’t draw in the net because there were so many fish in it. 

Contextual Study of today’s passage: John 21 [NLT] … Go to this link … 

Reference Passage #1: Revelation 3: 20 : [NLT] … {Jesus calls!} … “Look! Here I stand at the door and knock. If you hear me calling and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal as friends. 

My Journal for Today: John 21, the last chapter in the Gospel of John, is a fascinating study about God’s love, His mercy, and the Lord’s willingness to set His imperfect disciples on His perfect course. If you’re reading here with me, I hope you’ll use the link above and go back and read and meditate on all of John, Chapter 21 and see if God isn’t calling - or recalling you - as He also did in Rev. 3: 20, also quoted above.

The scene in John 21 was a depressed bunch of disciples after Jesus’ death, gathered on the same beach near Capernaum where Jesus had first called them a little over three years earlier [I’ve been on that beach – see photo above]. And while there, Peter decides to take a boat out to do some fishing; and while a handful of the disciples were out there on the water unsuccessfully fishing, Jesus appears on the beach and calls out to them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat. And “VOILA,” they catch fish … a lot of them!

I’ve always found that interaction fascination. As a fisherman, Peter had no real reason to cast those nets that one last time. They’d been fishing for some time without catching anything. Yet, he did so obediently to this stranger calling from the beach. Have you ever wondered why Peter might do so … other than the fact that God could have softened his heart to cast the net? In my mind, I imagine Peter, after being so down about his thrice denial of Jesus, hearing Jesus call, reflected on that time out on the waters in that horrible storm (related in Matt. 14, Mark 6, and John 6) when Jesus came to the disciples, walking on the waters, appearing as a ghost. I can just imagine that Peter had a flashback to that time; and when he heard the “stranger” calling from the beach, he just responded obediently – and almost reflexively – to the command; and when he did, Jesus filled his nets with fish.

This story shows us that following Jesus can often be illogical and even counter-intuitive. But when we know it is the Lord’s calling, we need to do what Jesus also called His disciples to do in Luke 9: 23, … to deny our self, take up our cross, and follow Him. And when we do – obediently - Jesus has promised (again see Rev. 3: 20) that He’ll come to us and dine with us … just as He did with His disciples on that beach near Capernaum after the resurrection.

And another part of the story in John 21 is that of Jesus gently and compassionately re-commissioning Peter there on the beach, three times asking Peter if he loved Jesus; and three times, giving Peter the opportunity to re-commit himself to Christ after Peter had denied him those three times before the crucifixion. What a beautiful story of God’s love and patience in the face of our failure. And the more you look into the wording of Peter being restored by Christ, the more amazing becomes that story of God’s unconditional love.

But though God’s love is unconditional, God’s working grace is not unconditional; and in the story of Peter casting those fishing nets in Chapter 21 of John, we see that God will only be able to fill our nets when we’re willing to cast them obediently at Jesus’ calling. And even when it seems illogical to do so or when we even doubt the outcomes, … when we sense God calling us to follow Him, we need to cast our nets on the other side anyway; and as the old Nike commercial touts, “Just do it!” Because, as I’ve written often in my devotionals, … “God’s calling is His enablement.”

My Prayer for Today Lord, You called me to be here today, seeking after Your truth from Your word. And I cast my nets; and You faithfully filled them with Your love. Thank You, Lord!! … Amen

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