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gone fishing

Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will also come with you.” They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing. But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples didn’t know that it was Jesus. So Jesus said to them, “Children, you don’t have any fish, do you?” John 21: 3-5 [AD 33 Galilee]
A coke can is thrown out of the car onto the side of the road; a used contraceptive is discovered amongst broken beer bottles on the beach; fly tipping just over there.... I think you might have guessed where all this is going but humour me just a little longer.
Single mothers are left to bring up the child(ren) alone, whilst the dad goes out 'on the pull' with the lads; dysfunctional families increasing more and more at the tax payers’ expense, whilst tax-paying families carefully consider the cost of an additional child. The generations grow up. The minority becomes the majority. Guess who the new minority are?
I want to ask you, how does this make you feel? Are you ok with this?
Is it ok to think that whatever we do in this life there will be somebody out there who'll pick up what we drop - our rubbish, our children, our tax bill, our debts…?
Is this a political question? Or is it a spiritual question? - I say it’s the latter.
‘Eventually we all have to accept full and total responsibility for our actions, everything we have done, and have not done.’ (Hubert Selby, Jr., American writer, 1928- 2004)

So what has this to do with the words in bold above from John’s first-century biography of Jesus of Nazareth?

All the disciples were bereaved and despondent at the loss of their master through crucifixion. They didn’t know what else to do but needed to ...... do something. Just like a reformed alcoholic who goes back to drink for a 'pick me up', Peter suggests going back to what they always knew – fishing – and they all join in.
But it seems they’d lost the knack  of what they thought they knew best. Maybe their three years of fish rehab, supposedly leaving their nets behind them for ever, had left them helpless? They fished for hours and caught nothing.

The disciples were having a bad night! Not only were these guys wasting time and resources, they didn’t recognise the presence of their resurrected master on the sea shore. To add insult to injury Jesus calls out to them from the beach and calls them...”children”.

Children, you don’t have any fish, do you?” Children?

 ‘When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways.’ (Paul, Apostle, writing to Corinthian Christians c. AD 55)

Later that morning Jesus has a word with Peter and explains the difference between a boy and a man. Peter is shown the meaning of responsibility.

Peter got the message. No longer would he drop the responsibility of 'following Jesus'; no longer would he deny his God-given identity, purpose and destiny. He would put away childish things.

When we see trash tossed out on the street or on the side of the road; when we see fathers 'on the pull' in the pub; when we see the unemployed ceasing to seek work; when we see the boss leaving his wife for the secretary… we see a world filled with children living in darkness, achieving nothing and failing to recognise their creator – the only one who, in Jesus, can save them from this mess.

All of them have either lost or not bothered to find their purpose or their destiny. All, like children, have discarded their responsibility to follow Him. All expect someone else to pick up the responsibilities they drop.

This problem once again ... It's not political..... It's spiritual!

How about bringing your responsibilities to Him? After all, He said: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me….”

Alastair Taylor

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