The 7 Next Words of Christ: Have You Caught Any Fish?

The 7 Next Words of Christ: Finding Hope in the Resurrection Sayings

“Have You Caught Any Fish?”


 John 21:1-19 (New Revised Standard Version)

Later, Jesus himself appeared again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. This is how it happened: Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two other disciples were together. Simon Peter told them, “I’m going fishing.” They said, “We’ll go with you.” They set out in a boat, but throughout the night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples didn’t realize it was Jesus. Jesus called to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” They answered him, “No.” He said, “Cast your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” So they did, and there were so many fish that they couldn’t haul in the net. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard it was the Lord, he wrapped his coat around himself (for he was naked) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they weren’t far from shore, only about one hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire there, with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you’ve just caught.” Simon Peter got up and pulled the net to shore. It was full of large fish, one hundred fifty-three of them. Yet the net hadn’t torn, even with so many fish. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples could bring themselves to ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread, and gave it to them. He did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. When they finished eating, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” Simon replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” Jesus asked a second time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Simon replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Take care of my sheep.” He asked a third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was sad that Jesus asked him a third time, “Do you love me?” He replied, “Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. I assure you that when you were younger you tied your own belt and walked around wherever you wanted. When you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and another will tie your belt and lead you where you don’t want to go.” He said this to show the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. After saying this, Jesus said to Peter, “Follow me.”


Feeling lost without Jesus, and thinking their mission was over, the disciples went back to doing things the way they always did them.

How often has the church been guilty of falling back to doing things the way they always did it; casting out from the same side of the boat daring to even call it fishing, only to catch nothing?


Jesus asks us annoying questions that we know he already knows the answer to in order to make us think about our own realities.

The reality for the disciples, and for so many of us, is that when the mission gets tough or actually requires some hard work that we don’t want, or aren’t willing, to do, we go right back to casting from the same side of the boat where we continually catch nothing, and we keep doing it expecting a different result, yet we continue to catch nothing.

Jesus has a solution to the disciples problem as well as the church’s today… Cast on the other side of the boat.


Jesus is calling Peter, and us, to love him in a way that abandons the notion of self-interest and trusts in God’s all-consuming plan.

The first two instances that Peter responds to Jesus he uses the Greek term for love, Phileo, which is a love one has for a friend.

The third response he used the word agapao, or agape’, which is a love that is unconditional and without boundaries. It is all-consuming and without restriction or expectation.


To follow him means to go into the world. To go into the world means to reach those who have, for so long, been unreachable. To reach the unreachable means transforming and revolutionizing the way of the world.

That experience around the campfire with Jesus represents the church that would be formed out of his bidding to go, which includes all of us.

It means that every moment we gather as the church, we realize that we are all connected, and we are never truly alone, forsaken, or abandoned.


The church is not primarily a building, organization, or institution, but a net for spiritual fishing. And we must cast our net on the other side of the boat.

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