"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." John 21:4-7
I was recently listening to a message by John Eldredge, called "Beautiful Outlaw". In the message he talks about the disciples and their behavior post-crucifixion. The scene is set, a crew of them just off the shore, sitting in their boats after a night of fruitless fishing just as he met them. The disciples are despondent and afraid, their hopes completely dashed, and their hearts broken. Their leader was mercilessly executed, and their lives, so full of wonder and meaning, are suddenly void and lacking direction.
It's safe to say that the disciples were moving with quite a bit of momentum. Living and serving alongside Jesus..., witnessing miracles, walking on water, eating miracle fish, hearing firsthand the gospel, following Christ, you know like… God, literally step by step. I'm certain that the word exciting doesn't capture it.
So when they hit the wall of having their trust betrayed by their friend Judas, watching their leader die, and grappling with the guilt of each having deserted him in some way during his hour of need, they are each deeply wounded and several of them completely lost. In confusion, defeat and despair, they go back to what they know… fishing.
Then, he appears on the shore and pretends to be a stranger, and leads them into the same miracle he’d performed when they first met.
Often, when people are injured, or even killed due to impact, it has very little to do with the size or density of the object they crash into, but rather the speed at which they were going. Momentum has an uncanny way of urging us on and filling us with enthusiasm, but in that same token, when met with an immovable object, causes major damage. The same is true for us when we get knocked down, when the course we’ve been running on with fierce momentum turns a corner and we hit a wall we didn’t see coming. We lose heart, and like the disciples, we go back to what we know. In the face of grief and despair, we find ourselves running back to the same people, places and habits that we started with, wondering if our journey thus far had any meaning whatsoever. It appears that we are back at square one; as if Jesus had never come into our lives.
Recently, I was running hard; in what I thought was the right direction, certain that glory was on the other side. Unbeknowst to me, I started running toward a mirage and found a brick wall behind it, eager to acquaint me with the ground. I lay there for a while in despair, then slowly crawled back to the familiar. And there Jesus found me, sulking and frustrated after night after night of trying to do what I’ve always done. Yet, there He is. In the wake of our biggest hurts and failures, He starts toward the sea looking for us to tell us the good news; waiting to tell us that it’s okay, that we’re still His friends, and that He still has every intention to use us.