John Wright Follette
"But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood
on the shore, ... Then Jesus saith unto them,
Children, have ye any meat? They answered him,
No. And he said unto them, Cast the net on the
right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They
cast therefore, and now they were not able to
draw it for the multitude of fishes" John 21:4-6.
They had fished all night, but had caught nothing. After
they had been brought to this condition of reduction, the
Lord casually asked, "Have you any meat? For, in frustration,
they had gone "fishing" before they were ready.
Jesus first calls His disciples to be near Him before sending
them forth. Many Christian workers ignore the first part and
immediately seek to be sent into the harvest field. There
is however, the necessity for a close personal union and fellowship
with Him before being sent. Many do not appreciate this time
of being set apart, until after they have been thoroughly
exposed to the elements. Then they are anxious to come back
to be with Him.
Time spent with Jesus is of the utmost importance. Only then
will we have the right perspective and message. The disciples
were very slow to understand Jesus and His message. They continually
interpreted His message in the material realm, until finally
He rebuked them. These disciples had come under the tradition
of the elders.
The Old Testament had been perverted by the Scribes. They
changed it, rather than leave it as it had been given to Moses.
In each successive generation, they added their interpretation
to the previous interpretation. When Jesus came, those to
whom He ministered were living under the effect of seven layers
They did not have the slightest idea of its original power.
For example, a person could walk only so far in a day without
breaking the law. God did not say that, but the tradition
of the elders had established it so they were bound under
the law like a lot of dead folks wrapped in mummy clothes.
Israel had been pressed by one nation after another who walked
over them and took what they wanted until Israel had been
depleted. God often allows such a reduction to come in the
physical realm to arouse within a need which is spiritual.
He had allowed Israel to be hammered upon until it was depleted.
There was nothing they could do, except look to God, who had
promised them a Kingdom."
When John the Baptist came saying, "Behold the Kingdom
is at hand," they really listened. They did not desire
to hear the real truth, but wanted Jesus to come as a Messiah
to establish Israel.
Each time Jesus preached concerning a Kingdom, His disciples
interpreted it on the level of their flesh. The minute His
back was turned they argued as to who would be the greatest
in it. Thus, when Jesus said, "I must go up to Jerusalem
and suffer death and rise in three days," Peter said
"No, Lord, be it far from thee." Does Peter love
Jesus so tenderly? No, he is afraid he will lose his place
in this Kingdom.
The Lord had to rebuke His disciples because of their lack
of insight. They had no penetration of understanding that
would allow them to enter into the real moving of God that
was within Him. Tradition would not allow it. They were so
warped by the traditions of the elders that even the presence
of the Lord Jesus in their midst could not break through this.
If we are under the effect of certain traditional patterns,
we will never piece together the spiritual values. Spiritual
values will never mean to us what they should. Not sin and
wickedness, but religiosity. Our traditions must be put aside.
Jesus came to die. After He accomplished this, God the Father
raised Him from the dead. He appeared to them and breathed
the Holy Spirit upon them, and said, "Receive ye the
Holy Spirit." He comforts them, discusses with them the
things of the Kingdom, and is taken home.
What happens when your faith receives a severe jolt and you
discover the thing you have hoped for has eluded you. And
then the Lord says, take this step of faith with Me; that
(the Kingdom restored to Israel) is not for you, but this
is. The Lord desires to shape before us something of real
spiritual value, a divine substitute for the thing which we
thought we must have or die.
Then He leaves us. Many of us have been left after He has
said something terrifying. Then we wonder whether we had a
dream or if we imagined it. Anyone who walks with the Lord
will experience this. What is our next step? When our faith
is not able to bridge a chasm like this, we automatically
revert to our old position. It is more comfortable there,
and we are used to it.
Peter said, "I know fish, I will go back to my nets."
This is a very revealing statement. Of course, the enemy had
a boat right there for him. We do not know who we might influence
by these things. Peter did not think of this. "And they
said, we go also." He did not ask them, his attitude
Jesus had said to Peter, "I will make you to become
a fisher of men." Peter is now in disobedience because
Jesus had called him away from his fishing vocation. He is
in unbelief, rather than in faith. Peter can rationalize this
- "A boat has been provided for me and my friends are
all with me. This must be the Lord's will." All the boats
in the world will not correct our disobedience, or our lack
Peter fished all night. It is always night then. Do not make
your night too long. Peter tried all the tricks of the trade,
but none of them worked. As they fished all night, the Lord
waited on the shore for them. He longs for the daylight to
When they finally came in, the Lord said, "Did you get
any fish?" He was not asking for information. This is
a principle. A question provokes an answer, and the answer
becomes the platform upon which the blessing is released.
Notice, Jesus did not rebuke them. Rather He said, "Did
you catch anything." In other words, "You had your
fling in self-will because you would not standstill until
faith could be built up in you to bridge this chasm. Can you
not wait until I pour out My spirit upon you? Only then will
all this take an entirely different direction."
It is difficult to confess, "I did not get even one
fish," but this will give the Lord the opportunity He
desires. He responded and told them, as an act of obedience,
to cast their net on the right side of the boat and they would
find. They had cast their nets in unbelief and disobedience.
Now they are to cast their nets in faith and obedience, because
the Lord has spoken.
Many think we must have a change in environment, or an entirely
different arrangement to become obedient. No, we can stay
in the same boat, in the same water, with the same net. There
is only one thing that makes a difference. You that have prayed
for so long for another boat, stay in your own. Act in obedience.
Even though it slay me, yet will I stay put.
"As soon then as they were come to land, they saw
a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and
bread. Jesus saith unto them, bring of the fish
which ye have now caught" John 21:9-10.
"So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter,
Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?
He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I
love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of
Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord;
thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him,
Feed my sheep.
He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas,
lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto
him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto
him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that
I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep"
The beauty of this conversation is in the subtle, hidden
way in which Jesus handles it. He asks Peter three times concerning
his love and devotion. The beginning of the chapter tells
us why. Three times Peter has declared his devotion and love
to Jesus. Each time he measures it by the law of love and
death. He had said, "Though all forsake You, I never
The Greek text has two words for love. Agapao and Phileo.
Agapao is the stronger word as it is love measured by sacrifice,
even unto death. Phileo is an emotional word, "I am very
fond of you."
"Jesus saith to Simon Peter, lovest thou me more than
these?" Jesus uses the word agapao. Peter answers with
phileo. Jesus said, "Feed my little lambs." Much
can be done with a little lamb. Jesus put this burden on Peter.
A second time, Jesus says, "Peter, lovest (agapao) thou
me?" Again Peter says, "I love (phileo) thee."
Jesus saith unto him, "Feed my sheep." These are
the older ones.
A third time Jesus asks Peter, but this time He came down
to where Peter is, because He is unable to bring Peter up
to the higher place. "Peter, am I really very dear to
you, are you really fond of me?" Peter says, "Oh,
Lord you know everything."
Jesus reinstates Peter beautifully. He is more interested
in what Peter is becoming than in anything he will ever do.
Peter is being changed within, he has come to the end of all
ambition and drive, the traditions of the elders have been
washed from him. Now a new vision of ministry and purpose
can be imparted to him.
The grandeur of his place in the hoped for kingdom has faded.
Now Peter is ready to feed the sheep of His pasture.