I hope you are catching your fish for the winter. It’s a lot of work in a short window but the canned or frozen fish sure taste good in January.
While crossing the wilderness to the promised land, Israel complained about food they missed. “We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely,” they said, along with cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. Sounds like a good barbecue and a salad, which were in short supply in the desert. But, “eat in Egypt freely”? Apparently some forgot the forced labor with little freedom and their baby boys drowning in the Nile at Pharaoh’s command.
Fish played a part when Jesus chose his disciples. After speaking to the multitude from Simon’s boat, Jesus told the fishermen to launch out and let down their nets. They caught nothing after fishing all night but “at thy word,” the word of Jesus, they did. The catch was so great that the two boats began to sink. Astonished looks passed between those fishermen, and they followed Jesus.
Another time Jesus told Peter to go to the sea and cast a hook. The first fish he catches will have money in its mouth. Maybe he thought, “Yeah right, that will be a first.” Or maybe after following Jesus he expected these things to happen. He was to use the money to pay their tribute. Can you imagine the expression on that seasoned fisherman’s face when it happened?
The multitudes followed Jesus to hear his teaching and see the miracles he did. Jesus told his disciples to give them food. Philip reported their meager resources could not meet the need. Then Andrew found a lad who had five loaves and two small fish. Jesus gave thanks and the disciples distributed the food to the multitude. What did the fish and barley bread taste like? They gathered up the leftovers and filled 12 baskets! Maybe the lad who shared his lunch got one to take home. What a story he had to share with his family and friends!
The hurricane that was the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus spanned three days. The disciples struggled to come out of that storm. To help them, Jesus said, “Peace be unto you,” four different times. He spent 40 days with them as proof of his resurrection.
During that time, Peter decided to go fishing and several others went with him. An all nighter produced no fish. A man on shore called out, “Cast your net on the right side…” Their catch numbered 153 fish, and they realized it was Jesus. The similarity to their experience from three years before probably settled on them. More important, the disciples ate bread and fish with Jesus again. The Lord had new and powerful experiences ahead for them. Jesus said he would make them “fishers of men” and that became a reality in an amazing way. Multitudes again were impacted, this time by the outpouring of God’s Spirit in Acts chapter 2.
When you are fishing or eating them, remember how Jesus of Nazareth used fish in some of his miracles. He is still a God of miracles with many ways to minister to our needs.
Mitch Glover pastors the Sterling Pentecostal Church. Sunday Bible class at 10 a.m. and worship at 11 a.m. are live-streamed on Facebook as well as the Thursday Bible study at 7 p.m. All are welcome to visit the services and sterlingpentecostalchurch.com.