“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 21:6 KJV)
What an interesting situation. Our initial reaction from the story is this was all done just so they would know it was Jesus. True. Is not all of life like this? Is not everything we do ultimately for the glory and revelation of God (see Romans 11:36)? Yet, like Paul explained to Philemon, it is by practicing the given instruction that we are most able to realize the truth. “That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.” (Philemon 1:6 KJV)
Another question, why were they fishing on the side of the boat that they were fishing on? Why did they intentionally not fish on the right side of the boat? It took a word from Jesus to them to encourage them to make the attempt on the other side of the boat. What about their skill as fishermen would teach them to fish on the side of the boat they were fishing on? It is hard to say, but there is something similar that we tend to do even today. So many times when we feel we have something special from God to share we only share with those who all ready believe in Jesus. We feel the only safe audience to speak of Christian inspiration to are other Christians. We automatically drift towards being support for the Church. I do not want you to get me wrong as there is a great deal of good in this; however, it rarely brings any fish that were in the lake into the boat. It merely keeps those in the boat from jumping overboard to join the fish. I would suggest that it is more profitable both for us and the gospel as a whole to be sharing our witness with those who do not trust in Jesus. Sure, it is painful. The unbelievers will be the first to question us. They will be the first to mock us. They may even be the first to try and run us off the road. Still when we go fishing we need to listen carefully to where God has us casting our nets. No matter how well our plans for retrieving fish are, unless we are going where Jesus directs us, we will not catch a thing.
Practicing love to the unlovely will sharpen our vision of the value of love. So will being patient with the inpatient, being kind to the unkind, being ready to come to a peaceful resolution even in the midst of a battle, and restraining yourself not because you are strong, but because you are under the command of Jesus. At the same time, please note that in order to catch fish that you do not have to become a fish. If someone is swimming around in darkness, you through a net into that darkness to bring them out. You do not condone or justify the darkness. Our testimony of God’s goodness also reveals the righteousness of Jesus and His ability to cleanse them of their sins (just like He cleansed us). Remember that it is the sick that are in need of a doctor (see Matthew 9:12, 13) that is interested in making them well. They have no use for a doctor that wants to join them in their sickness.
“Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.” (John 21:10 KJV)