A NET FULL OF FISHES

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[John:21:1-25].

Lesson No.: 
114
Class: 
Elementary
Memory Verse: 

“Thou knowest that I love thee” (John 21:15).

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Notes: 

Peter and Andrew
 One day when Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, He saw two fishermen casting their net into the sea. These men were brothers and their names were Peter and Andrew. Jesus had other work for these men to do, so He said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” [Matthew:4:19]). Jesus meant that Peter and Andrew should follow Him and teach other people to follow Him, love and obey Him.

At once, the fishermen left their nets and followed Jesus. They listened to His words as He taught them many things. They heard Jesus in the church, on the mountainside, and by the seashore as He taught the people. They saw Him heal the sick ones. They knew He was the Son of God. Some of the people did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God, but Peter knew who Jesus was. One day he said to Jesus, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” [Matthew:16:16]).

A Fishing Trip
Some time later we again find Peter by Galilee, the beautiful sea, or lake, sometimes called Tiberias. Suddenly, he said to some men who were with him, “I go a fishing.” The others said to him, “We also go with thee.” Into the boat and out to sea went Peter and six friends. All night long they threw their great net into the sea, but each time the net came back empty. No doubt tired and hungry, as well as disappointed from the long fishing trip, they came back to the shore.

The Stranger on the Shore
In the early morning, as they neared land, they saw someone standing on the shore. Perhaps it was yet a little dark – they could not tell who was there. But soon a kind voice called to them across the waves: “Children, have ye any meat?” “No,” was the reply of the fishermen. Again the voice of the “Stranger” on the shore could be heard, as He said, “Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find.”

The tired fishermen could have said, “We have already fished on both sides of the boat; we have done everything we could, but have not caught a single fish.” But obediently and hopefully they cast the net on the right side of the ship. To their surprise, the net was at once filled with great big fish! In fact, the net was so full that the men could not draw it up.

One of the men in the boat said, “It is the Lord.” At once, Peter got out of the boat and made his way to the shore. It was just a short distance, so he probably swam or waded through the water. It was the same Peter who had walked on the water at one time, going to Jesus. The other disciples came to shore in a little boat, dragging the net with the great catch of fishes.

Breakfast with Jesus
There on the shore was another surprise for the tired and hungry fishermen: a fire, with fish on the coals, and some bread! While the disciples had fished, Jesus had made a nice meal for them and He said, “Come and dine.” Jesus knew how hungry they were; they probably needed to dry themselves by the fire after working with the wet net. Jesus took the bread and fish and fed the disciples. How thoughtful He was for the needs of the seven fishermen! And today, too, He is just as kind, and sends us all the things we need and much more.

What a happy morning for the disciples! They had breakfast with Jesus on the seashore! They did not need to ask if He was Jesus, but knew for sure that it was He.

Before Jesus called the fishermen to come to eat, He asked them to bring some of the fish which they had caught. Jesus used some of the fish from the net to feed the hungry men. We do not know where He got the fish which he had already cooked, nor the bread, but we know that He can do all things. He could have had more fish on the coals, already cooked, but He said, “Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.” We may learn a lesson from this. Jesus supplies what we need, still He expects us to do our part.

They had obeyed Jesus and cast the net on the right side of the ship, and Jesus caused the net to be filled with big fish – one hundred fifty-three! Did the net break as it had once before when they caught many fish? (See [Luke:5:3-6].) To their surprise, the net was not broken this time.

Fishers of Men
After they had eaten, Jesus said to Peter, “Lovest thou me more than these?” Peter’s answer was, “Yea. Lord; thou knowest that I love thee”. A second and a third time Jesus asked Peter the same question. Each time Peter answered, “I love thee.” But he was very sad when Jesus asked him the question the third time. Perhaps he remembered that only a short time before, he had three times denied that he knew Jesus. Now he told Jesus three times that he loved Him.

Peter had repented for denying his Lord, and we believe Jesus had forgiven him. Peter surely did love Jesus, and he proved his love by working for Him. We do not read that he did any more fishing for fish, but he became one of the “fishers of men.” He told many, many people about Jesus, and they were saved and loved Jesus. He prayed for the sick and they were healed. One day the people brought the sick out into the street and laid them on beds and couches so that the shadow of Peter passing by might fall upon them, believing that they would be healed. Many others brought their sick to Peter and they were all healed [Acts:5:14-16]). Of course, it is not wrong to go fishing, but when Jesus has important work for us to do we must do it first. Sometimes we have to give up our own wishes and pleasures in order to do the work of the Lord.

Proving Our Love for Jesus
Jesus hears everything we say, and when we tell Jesus we love Him, He expects us to show Him that we mean what we say. There are many ways by which we may prove our love for Jesus. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” [John:14:15]). Shall we make a list of some commandments? Then we can quickly see whether or not we love Jesus.

“Be ye kind” [Ephesians:4:32]).
“Love your enemies” [Matthew:5:44]).
“Obey your parents” [Colossians:3:20]).
“Love one another” [1 Peter:1:22]).
“Murmur not” [John:6:43]).
“Rejoice evermore” [1 Thessalonians:5:16]).
“Pray without ceasing” [1 Thessalonians:5:17]).
“Neither be thou envious” [Proverbs:24:19]).
“Lie not” [Colossians:3:9]).
“Be ye thankful” [Colossians:3:15]).

Jesus spent much time with His disciples teaching them to become fishers of men. He will teach us, too, if we ask Him.

Questions: 

1. Did the disciples catch any fish during the night? [John:21:3].
2. What did Jesus tell them to do? [John:21:6].
3. How many fish did they catch when they obeyed Jesus’ command? [John:21:11].
4. Did the disciples know Jesus? [John:21:4];[John:21:12].
5. After they had eaten, what question did Jesus ask Peter? [John:21:15].