By Phil Holmes
Director of Missions, Loudon County Baptist Association
It is a characteristic of the human condition to doubt oneself — doubting if the right decision was made, doubting if I’m good enough, doubting if I measure up. Within the body of believers, we doubt too. Sometimes we even doubt if God is in control. But, there is something we tend to forget: God is love, He never changes and He will never forsake His children!
In John 21, the resurrected Jesus appeared to seven of His disciples who were trying to fish, having fished all night with nothing to show for their efforts. Jesus was on the shore; only 100 yards away, and without them recognizing Him, He asked them if they had any fish. They answered “no.” Jesus’ response to them is very interesting. “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.”
Now, it’s not hard to imagine they could have been very puzzled by such a suggestion, because they had been fishing all night long, and normally they would have been somewhat successful. But when they did, they brought in such a huge amount of fish that the small boat they were in couldn’t handle the amount — 153 large fish! By the way, why would we need to know there were 153 fish? What made the difference from their all-night failure to the crazy number of fish?
One simple equation: Recognizing the Savior’s voice plus choosing obedience equals the mighty work of Jesus accomplished!
When John heard Jesus’ instruction, he immediately recognized the man on the shore as the Lord. He knew, then, to do as he was told, which led to the miracle catch! There’s a great lesson for us. Apply ourselves to knowing the Savior’s voice well enough to recognize His voice from 100 yards away. Choose obedience to His holy instructions from His Holy Word and pray for our brothers and sisters to follow as well.
And then, enjoy the blessing of walking with the Lord. By the way, my belief is the 153 fish represent an overabundance of blessing the Lord wishes to give to His church — 153 more souls to be saved, 153 more people working for the kingdom of God. He is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us (Ephesians 3:20). There’s no reason to doubt Jesus! B&R