Gone Fishing

Have you ever had one of those days, one of those months, or maybe even one of those years where you had given up all hope at achieving your dreams and goals and just wanted to quit? Maybe you’re in a season right now where you just want to throw in the towel.

Well you’re not alone. In John 21, we find the disciples in a similar situation. Let me catch you up on where the disciples are at. They had left their livelihood to follow a man they thought would fulfill their hopes and dreams. For the last three and a half years, they had sold out to this man they thought would be their Messiah. But then they saw their hopes and dreams stripped away from them when Jesus was crucified. They literally watched their dreams die right in front of them. After this sudden turn of events, this is what John records “Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?” They answered Him, “No.” And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some. ” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish. Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.” Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”—knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish. This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead.” (John 21:3-14 NKJV)

The disciples had given up all hope and had gone back to the place where Jesus had called them out of. They had given up on themselves, but Jesus hadn’t given up on them. He met them right where they were at.

If you find yourself in a place where you want to give up all hope and are about to throw in the towel or when you find yourself in a place like the disciples, take heart that Jesus will meet you right where you are. He won’t give up on you. He will never leave you. He won’t forsake you.

  1. What does this passage teach us about God? How does it apply to you?
  2. Do you find yourself in a place where you want to throw in the towel?
  3. Don’t give up on God because He will never give up on you.

Say My Name

There is just something that happens to a person when they hear their name. Nothing else gets the attention of a person when someone calls their name. I know by experience that whenever I hear my name, I immediately turn to see who is calling me. It doesn’t even matter who it is. As soon as I hear my name, you have my attention.

In John 20, John records an encounter between Jesus and Mary Magdalene that envelopes this truth about a person hearing their name. This is what John writes “Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).” (John 20:14-16 NKJV) Mary didn’t recognize Jesus until He called her by name. But as soon as Jesus said her name, Mary knew exactly who she was talking to.

Earlier in John, Jesus says my sheep know my voice and I call them by name. In other words, Jesus just doesn’t know who you are but He knows your name. He cares about you so much that He calls you by name. The name that is above every name knows your name. Let that just sink in for a minute. The Creator of the universe loves you so much that He wants to know you at such an intimate level as to call you by your name. When everyone else is calling you every thing else under the sun, take heart that Jesus calls you by name.

  1. What does this passage teach us about God? How does it apply to you?
  2. Are you listening to what everyone else is calling you or are you listening to the voice of God?
  3. Know that the Creator of the world loves you so much to call you by name.

Three Most Powerful Words

In John 19, we come across what I believe to be the three most powerful words ever spoken. What are they, you ask. Before I tell you what they are, let me give you some context that leads up to these words being spoken. Jesus has just been sentenced to death by the most brutal form of execution at the time called crucifixion. While He is hanging on the cross, this is what John, who was at the foot of the cross at this moment, records as the last three words Jesus proclaims before His death “So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” (John 19:30 NKJV)

Notice the tense and punctuation John uses to describe what Jesus had said. Jesus uses past tense and exclaims these final three words with power and authority. The interesting thing to point out and note is that Jesus made this exclamation before He rose from the dead. Before He conquered death, hell, and the grave. Before He overcame the power of sin.

I believe that these are the most powerful words ever spoken because when Jesus said “It is finished!” He wasn’t just saying “It is finished” to the work that He came to accomplish, but He was saying “It is finished” to the work that He is doing in you. He was saying “It is finished” to the addiction that you are struggling with. He was saying “It is finished” to the trial that you are going through. He was saying “It is finished” to the sin that you are battling to overcome. He was saying “It is finished” to your past. He was saying “It is finished” to you failures. He was saying “It is finished” to your regrets.

How do I know this to be true? Well Paul writes to the church in Philippi “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6 NKJV) In other words, whatever you’re going through has already been overcome. Your future has already been decided. Your purpose is secure. Take heart in the three most powerful words ever spoken “It is finished!”

  1. What does this passage teach us about God? How does it apply to you?
  2. Are you worrying about your future?
  3. Trust that God will complete the work He started in you because it has already been finished.

Spoken Word

I heard Ron Carpenter, Founder and Senior Pastor of Redemption World Outreach Center in Greenville, SC, say “We use our words to communicate, but God uses His words to create.” I don’t think we realize how powerful our words are. We were created in the image of God, the first man, Adam, when he named the animals; what he called them that’s what they were, and the writer of Proverbs tells us “life and death are in the power of the tongue.” But yet we still toss around our words without thinking about the impact that they have.

In John 18, the writer shows us how powerful words can be. Let met put everything in context for you. Jesus is just about to be betrayed. Judas, the Pharisees, and the Roman troops have shown up to arrest Him. Just before they arrest Jesus, one of the craziest things happens. This is what John writes in verse 6 “Now when He said to them, “I am He, ” they drew back and fell to the ground.” (John 18:6 NKJV) Jesus’ words were so powerful that just His spoken word knocked people to the ground. How crazy is that?

The same words that spoke the world into existence, the same voice that proclaimed “I AM” from a burning bush in the wilderness is the same voice that spoke you into the earth. You’ve been always on God’s mind and in His heart, but in order to get you into this earth, He had to speak you into existence. You went from God’s heart, to His mind, to His mouth, to this world. Don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t important, that you aren’t worth anything, and that you’re a nobody. God thought so much of you that He used the same breath of life that He breathed into man to breathe you into this world. You were created on purpose, with a purpose, for a purpose.

  1. What does this passage teach us about God? How does it apply to you?
  2. How are you using your words? Are you using them to communicate or are you using them to create?
  3. Remember that you were created on purpose, with a purpose, for a purpose.


The whole chapter of John 17 consists of Jesus praying. This is huge. If we are not careful, we’ll miss this. Right here in this chapter, Jesus is showing us the importance of prayer. Jesus considered pray as being so vital that He took time to do it right before He went to the cross and the grave. If Jesus would take time to pray right before the most crucial point of His life, arguably what would be the most life altering part of all of history, then we should probably pray before we set out to attack each day.

I believe the reason why we walk around defeated each and every day is because we don’t pray as we should. We tend to pray during the storms in life instead of praying before we face them. In other words, prayer has become our last resort instead of our first response. I’ve heard it said before and you probably have to “All we can do now is pray.” If all else fails, then we pray. We look to attack our problems in our on strength instead of praying for God to strengthen us through it. We seem to try to walk through our storms alone instead of praying for God to be with us. We try to overcome our circumstances in our own power instead of praying for the power that raised Christ from the dead to bring us through.

Why is this? Why don’t we pray as often and like we should? Paul instructs us that we should pray without stopping, James, the half brother of Jesus, tells us that our prayers are powerful and effective, and right here in John, Jesus Himself demonstrates for us the vitality of prayer. But yet we still neglect it.

I have a wristband that was given to me by my dad that I carry with me all the time on my key chain. It has the letters P.U.S.H. on it which stands for “pray until something happens.” Maybe next time if you would P.U.S.H. before you face the storms in your life, you wouldn’t be swallowed up by the winds and the waves. Maybe next time if you would P.U.S.H. before you experience a problem, you would see how big your God is instead of how big your problem is. Maybe next time if you would P.U.S.H. before your circumstance, you would be focused on Christ instead of your crisis. Maybe next time if you would P.U.S.H. before you go in, you wouldn’t be left hanging on the cross or buried in the grave. But you would rise in victory.

  1. What does this passage teach us about God? How does it apply to you?
  2. Is prayer a last resort or first response in your life?
  3. Start praying before you attack each day and see if you don’t walk through life victorious.

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