Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. – John 21:3
Fishing is the most Biblical of hobbies. Men everywhere are happy about this. In fact, I myself have been happy about this as of late as the pastime has reemerged in my life. When contemplating this very thing I thought about some of my most fond memories growing up and the few enjoyable times I have spent with deacons, and the bonding time I have had with my father-in-law – all involving fishing. When a man can spend a great deal of money on equipment, go out all day without a hot meal, lose or damage about half of that equipment, get a sunburn, come home stinking and empty handed and satisfied- there must be something about the peace of God in all of that.
And there must be something to all of this fishing business. Being a “Galilean”, Jesus was around fishing, and must have enjoyed it. There is fishing all over the gospels , Jesus calls his upper echelon of disciples, John , James, Peter and Andrew away from their boats and nets to follow Him. He even tells them that if they follow Him, He will make them “fishers of men.” When Peter has had a hard day out at the sea, Jesus tells him what side of the boat to cast the nets. Jesus feeds the multitudes with bread and fish. When Jesus tells the winds and the waves to be still, he and the disciples are on a fishing boat. Twice after the Resurrection we see Jesus with fish, once eating it Himself and the other, preparing it on the seaside for His disciples. He even has a fish drawn out of the sea to produce a coin!
Here’s the catch: when touting this thought to my wife she observed a very key thing – for these men whom Jesus called to follow Him, fishing was a way of life, not a hobby. Therefore, when He called them to become “fishers of men,” He was telling them their entire way of life was about to change. And change it did. So much in fact, what these men went through in their quest to become “fishers of men” makes the “Deadliest catch” look like a pond tournament. They all gave their lives, many dying horrific deaths, just to cast their nets in troubled waters for the purpose of bringing men to a saving knowledge of the gospel. Yes, they spent their lives, went all day without hot meals, if they had a meal, they were beaten and ridiculed, they did it in a Middle Eastern sun, and even if they came home empty handed, they were satisfied. And there is something about the peace that passes all understanding in that.