Sometimes it is louder and stronger than other times.... but if you listen you will hear it.....
John 21:1 "And afterward, Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way. v2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. v3 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter had told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.”
So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. v4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. v5 He called out to them, “Friends, do you have any fish?” “No,” they answered. v6 Then He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
Jesus' relationship with the deciples began with a miraculous catch of fish when He called them to follow Him and become fishers of men. Now, He is reminding them that they have moved to the wrong side of the boat. The catch of fish was to jar their memories and remind them that He was their source and the call of God on their lives was greater and stronger than their circumstances.
(this is the third appearance of Jesus to the disciples) and our story takes place following the resurrection when the shock waves of redemption have gone out from an empty tomb, setting the stage for a new day for the kingdom of God in the earth.
It's also a time when the resurrected Jesus seeks out the deciples who have counted Him out as another experience that was "fun while it lasted" and they've gone back to fishing. Too many folks go to revival services and figure the revival ends when the meetings are over. So Jesus shows up to let them know that new power and authority are available and a new beginning is in store for the church on the other side.
It seems that our country is divided between those on the left side and those on the right side, but Jesus is all about the "other side".....
It's about moving from the side of "just making a living" and over into "more abundant life", it's about moving from the side of secret followers of Christ and over into "you shall be fishers of men"... it's moving from the side of "I can't" and over into "I can do all things through Christ".....
Moving over to the other side of the boat will take you places you never dreamed you could go, and it will stretch you and test you. The other side will move you beyond your limits and expand your boundaries. Time after time, men and women have looked back in amazement at where God brought them when they moved to the other side of the boat.
There were two men who were living on a houseboat that was tied up in the harbor and sharing expenses. One night, the boat broke loose from its mooring and drifted far out into the open sea. One of the men got up in the morning before his ship mate and going out on deck, noticed there was no land any where in sight. He had no idea where they were, or where they were going, and he began to shout out to his ship mate, “Joe, get up quick; we ain’t here any more!”
When you respond to the master and cast on the other side of the boat, you'll often respond like Dorothy as she spoke to her canine companion....in the Wizard Of Ozz...."Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas any more"
This account of the third appearance of Jesus, took place on The Sea of Galilee, which is a fresh water lake about 12 miles long and six miles wide. It lies some 685 feet below sea level and is about 200 feet deep. Fishing was and still is an important industry on the lake. But Jesus was about to show them that whatever this area had been before, it was about to become a place where the Kingdom of God was about to be established and it would be the launching pad for signs, wonders and miracles.
The Gospel writer doesn’t record it here, but I’ve been around the church long enough to know that there must have been a moment of stunned silence when Jesus the carpenter told fishermen how to fish. “Did you say, "The right side of the boat Lord"? You’ve got to be kidding. We’ve always fished out of the left side of the boat, never the right. This is the way it’s always been done in Galilee. I mean, in this community, fishing is all about doing it from the left side of the boat. My goodness, if you change that, if you go to fishing from the right side of the boat, who knows what will happen next? That’s a slippery slope if I’ve ever seen one. Why, we could end up with people fishing off the backside of the boat and the front of the boat, and the next thing you know we will have women on the boats, and then we’ll have to put on clothes, and well, Lord, civilization and life as we know it could go right down the tubes. Oh no, this can't be right, the only way to fish is from the left side of the boat.”
In the final analasis, it has been said by those much smarter than me, that we will only regret the changes we didn't make.....
Sure, Jesus could have made the fish swim into the net while it was on the left side of the boat? Why go to the bother of having them take the nets out and put them in on the other side? For that matter, couldn’t Jesus have made the fish just jump into the boat?
How many times do we do what we do, and then ask Jesus to bless it. We don't really seek to hear His opinion, we just do it and pray, "Bless it Jesus" .... That's like if you were shooting a gun and it was "ready, shoot, then aim"....
But the real story behind the story was "obedience".... do I do it God's way or my way? You can’t go against God, go against what He is telling you, and expect the best outcome. You can’t do all the wrong things and expect good things to happen.
Psalm 51:12 King David in his prayer of repentance said, “Restore unto me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me”.
In John Wesley’s day, the other side of the boat, was known as “field preaching.” You see, the only place for Anglican preachers to preach was in the established church, never outside the pulpit. But John Whitefield noticed that the common, working people weren’t in church. They spent their lives working in the mines from early morning until dusk, covered with coal dust, never able to put on a clean shirt and make it to the 11:00 Sunday service.
So he started going out to the coal fields at 5:00 in the early morning, preaching to them on their way into the mines. John Wesley thought that fthe ield preaching which Whitefield was doing, was dreadful. He called it “an abomination.” But finally Whitefield persuaded him to try it, and lo and behold, it worked! People listened and responded and some were converted. So Wesley wrote in his journal, “I determined to be more vile,” and he preached on the street corners, in the marketplaces, in bars and brothels, and even standing on his father’s tombstone. And thousands began to come to hear the Word because he was willing to “cast his net on the other side.”
The other side may look different for each person. I recall that the starchy and conservative Wesley, walked up to a prostitute on a street corner and asked her how much she charged for one hour.... she told him, he paid her and spent an hour sharing the gospel with her and led her to Christ.
When Paul was chained to a guard on each side, I'm sure he said, I've got you where I want you and you can't get away from the gospel I preach. I wonder how many Roman guards Paul led to the Lord.
Sometimes like the deciples we have to come to the end of our resources and the end of ourselves in order to have one of those "other side" meetings with God. The disciples had been fishing all night. They had done all they could do, all that was humanly possible. It is at the point where we are ready to give up that God shows up. He's been waiting for us to wave the white flag of surrender.
I am reminded of the mother who's son was always disobeying her, and no matter what she said, he would do the opposite. After an especially trying day, she finally threw up her hands and shouted, "All right, Billy, do whatever you want! Now let me see you disobey THAT!"
I want you to notice in John 21:9 "When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.....v12 and Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” v13 Jesus took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish".
Where did Jesus get the fish and the bread? We don't know, but we know that He made wine from water, He made apostles out of nobodies. He got it the same place he has your stuff and mine! He didn't need the fish they caught, because He was showing them that He would supply all their needs according to His riches in glory..... He extends the same promise to us when we obey him. He already has what we need, before we ask....
Peter T. Forsythe was right when he said, "The first duty of every soul is not only to find its freedom but to find its Master". In settling the issue of who is our master, we discover our freedoms and our best selves.
When we come to the end of us, we come to the beginning of God. When we come to the end of what we can do, that is when we are ready to see what God has already been doing, before we got there.
He gives health where there was only sickness. He gives strength when there was only weakness. He gives life where there was only death. He gives hope where there was only despair. He gives forgiveness where there was only shame. He is the God of new beginnings. When we move over to the other side of the boat.
I believe this account of Jesus and the diciples tells us that the answer is closer than we could ever imagine. Again, let's remember that their boat was only 8 to 10 feet wide, and it was all just 8 to 10 feet away!!! It is as close as our willingness to obey and do what God is asking.
Elizabeth Elliott said "When we’re not sure what to do next, then do the next thing.”.....and guess what, the next thing is obedience!
If we are going to receive the answer God has for us, we are going to have to do what He says, when He says it and where He says to do it.
I have known many people who have prayed for an answer to their problems, but when the answer came they didn’t like it. They already had it fixed in their head how God should do it. They did not want to humble themselves and would not accept what God was asking them to do. They did not want to look foolish. They did not want to do the difficult thing God was telling them to do. They didn't want to make the necessary adjustments in their own lives, and in their own priorities. They wanted God to do it all for them. They wanted him to wave his hand and make it all go away. But when that happens, we must do what Peter did..... he said "NEVER THE LESS"..... (can I hear a "never the less")
There was a very weak and sickly man who lived in the deep back woods in an old log cabin. His condition grew worse, but he could not afford a doctor. In front of his cabin was a huge boulder. One night he had a vision. God told him to go out and push the massive rock in front of his home, until he told him to stop. The man got up early in the morning, and *.....with great excitement, he pushed on the rock as long as he could. After a rest he pushed some more. The vision he had was so real that it inspired the man and gave him hope. Day after day he pushed. After 8 months of pushing the rock, the man was getting tired of pushing the rock so much, and in his tiredness he started to doubt his dream. He measured from his porch to the rock, and he realized the boulder was in the same place as when he started.
He leaned against the rock and was feeling very discouraged, because he had invested so much time for nothing. But as the sun was setting in the west, Jesus came and sat down next to the man. He said, “Son, why are you so sad?” The man replied, “Lord, I have pushed with all that was within me for many months, and that old rock is right where it was when I started.” Jesus said to him, “I never told you to move the rock, I told you to push the rock.” Jesus told the man to step in front of the mirror and look at himself. He was amazed. He had been so sickly and weak, and what he saw in the mirror was a strong muscular man. He also realized that he had not been coughing all night. It dawned on him that he had been feeling better for months, and it was all because he had been pushing — not moving —the rock. Then the man realized, that the plan of God was not to change the position of the rock, but to change him. Through obedience, he had stepped over to the other side!
I'm sure that's why Jesus said in Matthew 4:4 “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every [rhema] word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God”
John 6:63 Jesus also stated, “The (rhema] words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life”.
When God gives a rhema for us to act upon, He often confirms it by a second rhema, II Corinthians 13:1 tells us that “in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every (rhema) word be established”
In our daily reading and meditating on God’s written (logos) Word , we need to ask God to speak to us through His Word and give us (rhema) insight into it. The Holy Spirit can cause certain passages to stand out with significant meaning or application for our lives and become a quickend (rhema) word burning in our spirit. The rhema word of God is the doorway to the other side where He has prepared what we need.
There will always be those things that will try to keep you from crossing over to the other side. People, circumstances, distractions, our own pride and stubborness, and our failure to understand the real issues. But it is far better to say no to all these things, than to say no to God and fail to receive what He has in store for us.
Be faithful right where you are called to push your rock. Right where you are is the launching pad which God will use to take you where you need to be. Jesus was always making something out of nothing, and he has not changed. He is still the same today. When everything you have tried in life turns out to be nothing, he can make something out of it. Just be faithful.
Sometimes you just have to stand your ground. A state senator who was running hard for a second term in office, had a busy morning chasing votes (and didn't have time for lunch) he arrived at a church barbecue. It was late afternoon and he was famished. As he started down the serving line, he held out his plate to the woman serving chicken. She put a piece on his plate and turned to the next person in line. "Excuse me," the senator said, "do you mind if I have another piece of chicken?" "Sorry," the woman told him. "I'm supposed to give one piece of chicken to each person."
"But I'm starved," the senator said. "Sorry," the woman said again. "Only one to a person." The senator was normally a modest and unassuming man, but he decided that this time he would throw a little weight around. "Do you know who I am?" he said. "I am the state senator" "Do you know who I am?" the woman said. "I'm the lady in charge of the chicken. Now move along, mister."
Be secure in your obedience to Christ, because there are many things that will try to intimidate you and overwhelm you and move you from your calling and your faithfulness to Him.
Let's face it, God's ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. Isaiah says it's because His ways are higher and His thoughts are higher. STAND YOUR GROUND!
Sometimes the Lord Jesus won't ask you for your agreement, He just asks for your obedience. In your relationship with God, success, promotion and miracles follow obedience, even when what he is asking you to do seems ridiculous to you. The reason many have difficulty obeying, is because they struggle with agreement. When Jesus told the disciples to cast their nets on the other side, it made no sense to them. Jesus didn't ask them for their agreement, He asked them for obedience.
Daniel took a stand against the King of Babylon, rather than disobey God. He didn't have to agree to being thrown in a den of lions, but his desire to obey, was stronger than his disagreement. The three Hebrews took a stand against the king and his advisors rather than disobey God. Moses took a stand against Egypt's Pharoah, rather than disobey God. All of these were promoted and walked in miracles because they obeyed God.
When Jesus told Peter to cast the fishing nets on the other side of the boat, Peter answered, Luke 5:5 “Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word [rhema] I will let down the net” v6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. v7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink".
Peter's desire to obey was stronger than his need to agree.... so he said "NEVER THE LESS".... (let's say it together)
Can I just tell you one more story...... it comes from the autobiography of John Kenneth Galbraith, about Emily Wilson, his family's housekeeper:
He says "It had been a long weary day, and I asked Emily to hold all telephone calls and please don't disturb me, while I had a nap. Shortly after I had laid down, the phone rang. Lyndon Johnson was calling from the White House. "Get me Ken Galbraith. This is Lyndon Johnson." He said. Emily said "He is sleeping, Mr. President. and he said for me to not let anyone disturb him." "Well, wake him up. I want to talk to him." Said the president. "No, Mr. President, you see, I work for him, not you". When John Galbraith finished his nap and called the President back, Johnson could scarcely control his pleasure. He said, "John, you tell that woman I want her here in the White House, she's the kind of staff I need."
We are not who we once were, when we first started out on this fishing trip and we're not who we're going to be ... the other side has changed all of us... so why stop now? Let's go on and watch what God has prepared on the other side! We don't have to be stuck where we are, we don't have to settle for less than God promised. Remember, the boat they were in was just 8 to 10 feet across. Thats how close they were to all they needed. You're closer than you could ever imagine!
All that you ever dreamed is closer than you might think, and it's not about distance, it's about deminsions. In the very place of emptiness, there is also a deminsion of abundance. In the very place of sickness and disease, there is also a deminsion of wholeness and healing. In the very place of lack and barreness, there is also a deminsion of more than enough....
The other side is about become what God designed you to be. It's about becoming your best self, the best you can possibly be. The other side is calling to every one of us!!!!
When you know by the Spirit what to do, then start where you can. Do the next thing....Kill your lions, bears, and Goliaths. Listen to the Spirit of God for his secret counsel which shall be revealed and confirmed openly. He will provide and you will not come up short. You will be graced and favored in ways you never imagined. And as you do, you will prosper in ways greater than you can ask or think, in the place, time and purpose of God. ...
Seek and you will find, ask and it shall be given, knock and the door shall open..... This statement of Jesus is about stepping into all that is available on the other side, the deminsion of "more than you could think, or imagine".