The Draught of Fishes
A. This is a miracle of provision.
1. Many of the miracles of Christ involved him healing people of various physical problems.
2. This miracle is different, not only because there is no healing involved, but because this miracle deals with a particular problem every man has: Will God really fulfill his promises for ME?
B. It seems this miracle is wrought for the special purpose of instructing those of us who have been called of God into his service, yet have not made up our minds that we must follow Christ completely.
1. In Luke 9:52, Jesus answered the man who desired to follow him ...foxes have holes, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head.
2. Many of us long for earthly possessions, yet with Christ we have more than just "possessions"
Verse 1 - And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret,
I. These people came to hear the Word of God, not to see a miracle.
A. Often we forget there are those who want to hear the word, not see some amazing thing.
1. There are those who follow Christ in order to have their belly filled, or their senses excited, but these follow Christ for the best: to hear the Word of God.
2. Like Mary of Luke 10:42, who chose the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
B. There were many who followed Christ to see a miracle, but Christ did not perform a miracle so they would be satisfied.
1. Herod was one such person, but Christ did nothing for him.
2. Christ performed miracles to prove he was Christ, but he knew a wicked generation seeketh after a sign.
3. Miracles do not make for strong Christians.
II. The lake of Gennesaret is the Sea of Galilee.
A. This particular area is known as the “harp”.
B. It is a very lovely and fertile region.
Verse 2 - And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.
I. It is no accident that Christ stopped by these two ships.
A. He had business with the owners.
B. It is no accident Christ stops by our place of business or residence because he has business with the owners!
II. It seems apparent that Peter, James, John and Andrew were with Christ when Peter’s mother in law was healed, and that they were already saved and scripturally baptized and members of the church Jesus was establishing.
A. According to Matthew 4:18-22, they had already left their fishing to follow Christ.
1. Yet it appears they had not completely forsaken all to follow Christ, for they had returned to fishing, and according to Luke 5:5, they had fished all night.
2. There is no doubt it is necessary for Peter to provide for his family and pay his bills, just as it is necessary for us.
B. Peter is like us in many respects.
1. He has received a holy call from God to follow Christ, yet is concerned about paying his bills and providing for his family.
2. Christ will answer all this difficulties for Peter, as he will for us. If we will only turn loose of all our worries, believe Christ will provide for us if we will allow him to do so.
3. Matthew 6:19-34 is a very appropriate scripture here.
Verse 3 - And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.
I. Prayed - petitioned, not demanded, as Christ often asks our obedience, not demands it.
II. According to Matthew 4:18, both Peter and Andrew were fishers.
A. Apparently Peter was partners with James and John, the sons of Zebedee, in the fishing business only: see verse 10.
B. Apparently the ship Jesus taught the people from belonged to Peter.
III. Peter had previously followed Christ, but had not completely followed him.
A. It seems Peter had returned to his living of fishing, which was against the Lord's will for him.
1. It may be God's will that you be a witness in the business world.
2. If it is, that is exactly what you should do.
B. But if it is God's will that you work in the public service of Christ, you, like Peter, cannot serve any other way.
Verse 4 - Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.
Verse 5 - And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.
I. I am thankful Peter obeyed his master.
A. Peter was an expert fisherman, but yielded his knowledge to the command of Christ, who had not fished a day in his entire life on this earth.
B. Surely Peter is the more experienced fisherman!
1. He may be the more experienced, but Christ is the one who controls the fish!
2. It is good for us to submit ourselves to Christ, as Christ controls everything.
Verse 6 - And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.
They did not expect this, as we seldom expect God's blessing when we have already tried things our way.
Verse 7 - And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.
If Peter and his crew had expected God's blessings, the partners would been together and ready to help land the catch.
Verse 8 - When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.
Verse 9 - For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:
I. The word “astonished” indicates Peter took in the evidence of all the fish he had caught, and was completely “blown away” to the point of being unable to move.
II. I get the picture that Peter and the others could only stand in awe and look at how many fish they had caught.
Verse 10 - And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.
I. I believe Jesus is giving his disciples a visual picture of how many people will be converted to Christ because of their ministry.
A. It would be wonderful if we could catch a glimpse of what Christ will do with the ministry of IBC.
B. We must fall at his feet, listen to his pleadings for us, and be obedient to his pleadings, completely yielding ourselves to him, and forsake all this present world for the cause of Christ.
Verse 11 - And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.
I. I suppose they brought the ships to land with the fish in them.
A. There is no record of what happened to all the fish, how much money they had because of selling the fish, or anything else about it.
1. There is no record of the disciples cleaning the nets, or the ship, again.
2. I suppose they did, as those things must be taken care of.
3. But their hearts were no longer in fishing, but in following Christ.
B. Peter had previously followed the Lord, but he had not forsaken all to do it.
1. Jesus will not let his people starve to death.
2. He will not let his people have unpaid bills, if they will only do as he directs.
3. Jesus told Peter to take a coin out of a fish he would catch to pay a bill he did not owe!
II. The purpose of the miracle is to show Peter (and us, as well) that Jesus can provide better for us than we can by our own labors.
A. It is only necessary that we do exactly what God determines for us to do.
1. Peter and his partners had fished all night, but taken nothing.
2. Their empty nets is a result of their own labors.
B. At the command of God, they let down the newly washed nets for one draught, and caught so many fish two ships could not contain them without sinking.
III. Apparently Jesus was in the ship with Peter.
A. God is always with us, even when we leave him far behind.
B. It seems Peter left Christ, for in verse 2, Jesus saw two ships with the fishermen washing their nets and they reported they had been fishing all night.
IV. I don't believe Peter is wrong at this point for desiring to provide for his family.
A. The time is in the very beginning of his ministry.
1. He has much to learn, then he will understand the provision of Christ.
2. God always gives his children time to learn, but if we do not listen, we might not know he has already given us time to learn.
B. Peter is wrong in John 20 when he decides to return to fishing for a living, and is gently reprimanded by Christ, as cooked fish is provided for their daily necessity.
1. There is no record that Jesus reprimands Peter at this point, rather shows him how much God can provide for him and his family.
2. The exact same thing is true for us today.
V. There was an effort on the part of the fishers to contain the fish within the ships.
A. There should be efforts on our part to contain the blessings God provides.
B. I do not know if the fish were sold for a profit or what happened to the fish, but I know that Peter fell down at the feet of Christ, declaring his sinfulness and God's glory.
VI. Verse 11 reveals the “turning around” of these men who will soon become the apostles of the first church.
A. They forsook all.
1. This is a continuing work for all of us - to leave all to serve God.
2. There is no record any of the apostles starved to death, or did without necessities of this life.
B. I don't think that was God's plan for them, and I don't think that is God's plan for us.
1. We may not be as prosperous as the person who forsakes God, but God will see to it that we have plenty.
2. If it is God’s will that we be in want, he will give us grace and peace when that time comes.