Living in a different era, a different culture, a truly different world than those who we read about in the Bible can make understanding the Bible challenging, but thanks to the internet if we do a little research, we can find the Bible comes alive. I was reading John 20-21 this morning and twice it says the disciples were behind shut doors (locked down) out of fear of the Jews. Jesus found them twice behind shut doors out of fear. Fear will always lock you down, but if you are not afraid, you will go out, no matter the fear that is being propagated by those “out there”.
The next time Jesus finds the disciples, after Jesus’ resurrection, they are fishing on the Sea of Tiberias. Now they are outside, so this alone is a shift that is often overlooked. They are out on the sea fishing, but it says Jesus is on the shore or the beach and He sees they caught nothing. How would Jesus know this? Well, a little research on net fishing revealed the answer.
“Recreational netting is considered by some fishers as a relaxing way to enjoy the outdoors while fishing. Net fishing is the only way to catch certain species, such as mullet and baitfish, but if used inappropriately, nets can take high catches of non-target species and undersized fish.
Haul netting also referred to as ‘drag’ netting, is done only in ocean waters from a beach or a boat. A net of up to 60 m in length is ‘shot’ into the water to surround a group of fish then hauled in. One end of the haul net may be fixed to the beach and a rope attached to the other end. Once in the water, the net is kept constantly moving towards the beach.” (State of Western Australia (Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development) 2020)
Jesus is God and He can know anything and knows everything, but the Bible is also very practical, that is why it is relatable to us. Understanding net fishing, specifically haul netting, which is what the disciples were doing based on the reading of the story in John 21, we learn Jesus knew they caught nothing because the net was fixed to the beach where Jesus was standing. Fascinating.
But this reality does not take away from the miracle, because when they put the net on the other side of the boat, per Jesus’ instructions it says, they caught such an abundance they could not haul it in. Our small acts of obedience produce abundant results in the most practical situations. I love that Jesus was and calls us to be supernaturally natural.
John 21:5-6 “Jesus *said to them, “Children, you do not have any fish, do you?” They answered Him, “No.” And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.” So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish.”