Throw Out Your Net (Read: John 21:1-14)

By: Annie Rogers

After Jesus had risen from the dead, He conspicuously appeared to His disciples on different occasions. One of these appearances takes place in John 21 when the disciples decide to go out for a late-night fishing trip.

The disciples linger on the water into the wee hours of the morning, empty-handed. A voice from the shore calls out to them, urging them to throw their nets over the right side of the boat. They obey the strange request, and the outcome of their obedience results in an abundance of fish swarming in their nets. It is in this moment that the disciples are struck with the familiarity of a miracle, and the identity of the voice from the shore suddenly becomes clear: it is their Lord.

How many times have we been these disciples, hopelessly leaning over the boat and staring out into empty pools of water? How often do we find ourselves discouraged and disappointed by the circumstances we find ourselves in?

We sit and pout over the sides of our boats, throwing ourselves a pity party. We look out over the empty sea that stretches out in front of us, afraid of the future, ashamed by our past, terrified of the next step. We hear a small voice from far off calling us to throw our nets—nets of opportunity, hope, purpose, and life. All it takes is an ounce of faith and a little toss.

Do you throw the net? Or do you stay perched on the boat with your arms crossed over the side, consumed by the void around you, wallowing in your emotions? How many times has God called us to throw our nets into the unknown, to take a leap of faith, to trust his guidance, but instead of obeying, we choose to succumb to our pain or our circumstances? It is easier to complain about how we feel or about our circumstances than it is to obey God’s call. The net is our way out.

Jesus could have said to the disciples, “Look into the water one more time, and you’ll see all the hundreds of fish I have provided for you.” But He did not. He gave the disciples a chance to respond to His obscure request before bestowing the miracle. They obeyed his words and threw over their nets. Only after they had faith in his words and demonstrated obedience did Jesus provide the miracle.

A re you still avoiding the unknown, absent of all purpose and hope? Are you listening for that voice on the shore that is waiting and wanting to guide you? Or are you begging for fish to suddenly appear and growing frustrated when you see no result? Jesus provided the miracle after the disciples exhibited obedience. Are you, too, exhibiting obedience to His call out of your misery, or are you content to stare at the empty water before you?

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