Afterward, Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter 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. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. 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. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn.
Their emphasis is upon the post-resurrection ministry of the Lord in which he now rules his church and directs its members in their Christian growth and service.
The Lord does three things. First, he asks a question. The point of the question is to reveal to the disciples their own need and failure. Jesus asked, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” He meant. “Hane you caught anything?” They had to answer sadly, “No.” They had to admit they were failures. This is what Jesus asks us when we have been trying to go it on our own. “Have you caught anything? Have you been successful? Are you satisfied?” He asks these questions so that we might recognize our hunger, need, and failure, and turn to him.
This leads to the next step in the story, for after having asked his question the Lord next gives a command. “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” The point is not where the work is to be done or how. It is whether it is being done under Christ’s direction and in obedience to him or by our own wisdom and initiative.
Third, the Lord sends blessings. First, he had asked a question; second, he had given a command. Now in response to their obedience to his command, Jesus sends such a great catch of fish that they are unable to draw the catch to land.
It is made as you obey Christ’s commands. He may seem distant and unreal to you. That is natural because sin separates us from him. But if you will obey him, he will work in your life and you will find him as surely as the disciples did when they obeyed him beside the lake of Galilee.