by Bruce Hanson

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. John 21:4-6

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.” So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.
Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.”  John 21:7-14

I recall, back in the day, way back in my elementary school pre-art days, I loved to draw pictures with stick figure people.  In fact, those were probably better than my drawings in my post-art days. 

Betty Likes Bruce

Now that may work for artistic contributions for the teacher, but it definitely doesn’t work for Bible studies. No stick-figure people here. These Bible characters offer us a deep dive into the real story!

God has given us far more than a supply of people to learn from in the Bible. Yet in the hurried style of life most of us struggle with, it is easy to rush into a Bible story, read it as quickly as we can, without fleshing out the situation of those we are reading about. We put a check mark next to today’s assignment and move right on. A new one tomorrow. 

Peter is a wonderful case in point. Jesus christened him The Rock, but more often than not, his life was rocky. He was impetuous. He recently drew Jesus’ ire for cutting off Malchus’ ear, but that pales next to his blatant denial of Jesus when  his loyalty counted most. Three times. Sit on that for a minute. This is the Savior of the world. And when He needed you most, you disappeared. I think the shame that Peter felt was far beyond measure. Now he finds himself out in a boat with his friends. A place they all find comfortable, and then a man on shore offers a curious suggestion. The man tells Peter and his friends to cast their net on the right side. Why? Boy was I surprised! Thy will not my will!

Fishing nets would normally have been cast to the left side of the boat so they could be hauled in more easily led by the “culturally” stronger arm — the right arm. Casting to the right meant that if they caught anything, they would have to work counter to their cultural and even physical norms, to haul the catch in.

As a lifelong lefty, Latin class taught me long ago the word sinistra, suggestive of darkness or evil, coming from a Latin word meaning “on the left side.”
The association of “left” with “evil” is likely because of the dominance of right-handed people within a population. Casting a net on the right side meant dragging it in with the nasty left hand. They ordinarily wouldn’t have done that. But the moment they did, Peter knew. This was Jesus’ work. One hundred fifty-three BIG fish. Peter leapt from the boat and hurried to shore. The weight was lifted. Jesus was still there for him. Despite his failures. Learn from Peter. Jesus waits on shore for you and I as well!!


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