Feb. 16, 2015
After Jesus had died and was resurrected, according to the book of John, He appeared to His disciples on several occasions. On this last occasion, while the disciples were fishing, He called out to them, "friends haven't you any fish?" Not realizing it was Jesus, they responded that they had been fishing all night and had caught nothing. Jesus told them to cast their net on the other side of the boat. The word says that they caught so many that they couldn't bring the net in. Then, realizing that it was Jesus, Peter jumped in the water and swam to shore. When he got there, according to John 21:9, they saw coals burning with fish already on it and some bread. Yet, Jesus told them to bring some of the fish that they had caught. The word says their net was full of large fish, 153 in all. The question today is, if Jesus already had fish on the coals, why would He tell the disciples to bring some of the fish that they had caught?
First of all, I believe that in this depiction of the gospel, the fish represents souls. Remember Jesus told His disciples 'to follow Him and He would make them fishers of men.' The fish represent souls, souls that were harvested and caught to be brought into the kingdom of God. I also believe that when we enter into the kingdom there going to be many, many souls already there, but yet Jesus will say to us, 'are there any here that you caught?' His question will be, are they any souls in the kingdom of God that came, that received Jesus as Lord and Savior, because of us? Have we done anything as individuals, not just as a church, but as one individual person to bring a soul into the kingdom of heaven? The word of God says that the net that Peter and the disciples brought to shore had 153 fish.
I remember hearing a story, many years ago as a very, very young Christian. The old Evangelist Schambach, told a story about someone he knew who had a vision of hell. As the vision went and the story was told, in hell there was a man who was going from one boiling lava pit to another. At each lava pit he would reach in, pull someone out, shake them and then throw them back in. As he continued to do this the person who was having the vision called down to him and yelled "Who are you looking for?" The man in hell turned, looked up and responded " I'm looking for the pastor that caused me to be in this place." Whether you're a pastor, preacher, teacher, evangelist, prophet, or just a Christian that lives next door, let there be no one in hell looking for you because you didn't witness to them. Let there be no one in hell angry, condemned forever because you were too embarrassed, insecure, or even too prideful to tell them about Christ and to ask 'do you know Jesus as your Lord and your savior?'
The disciples caught 153 fish in their net. When we enter into the kingdom of God will be be able to see that we have brought in 153 souls? What about 100 or 50 or even 3? How many souls will enter into the kingdom of God because you witnessed to them about Christ and salvation as well as because of the life that you lived before them as a Christian? Basically Jesus was asking the disciples, 'have you caught any fish today?' Every day we should hear the voice of the Holy Spirit as He speaks to us in our spirits 'have you caught any souls today?'