Is Jesus an environmentalist? That is, would He ever cut down a tree, hurt an animal, or use natural products? While we humans could do immensely better with our handling of this planet’s resources, reading about some of the things Jesus did gives me something to think about.
The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off. When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” (John 21:8–12)
Some of the disciples were fishermen, not for sport but for their livelihood. They caught fish so they could survive. What did Jesus do to make a living? During His public ministry, He seems to have been supported by His followers, but before that, He was a carpenter. He used wood and may have cut down trees. Interesting.
In this incident after His resurrection, He somehow caught fish and had them on a fire, ready for the disciples. I’m fairly certain that He didn’t lay them on the fire alive, which means He had to kill them first. The only ways I know how to kill a fish are to either let it suffer and die without being able to breathe, or use a club on it, sometimes known as a fish-whacker. The implications of Him serving fish for breakfast over an open fire are many.
The most important truth I gather from this story is that Jesus place the well-being of people above the lives of those fish. While Green Peace would not like that, it seems impossible to deny.
In doing so, Jesus declares that the catch that day was vital, not only to supplement the meal He was cooking for them, but also to build their faith. He had been crucified and these men had reservations about what would happen next. Perhaps this man they thought would rid them of Roman rule was not going to deal with their political bondage. So they decided to go back to their old way of life --- fishing.
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. (John 21:3–6)
Jesus provided a catch that they did not expect, then a breakfast they also did not expect. When He called them to eat, they realized who He was. Verse 12 finishes with “Now none of the disciples dared ask him, ‘Who are you?’ They knew it was the Lord” (John 21:12).
As I read this again, I can think of more implications. Am I obedient in the work that I do, following His instruction even after I have failed? He can turn failure into success. When I have a meal, am I thankful realizing that the Lord has provided for me? It might not be as dramatically as this story, but He does take care of His people.
Lord, we have spent days looking at Your creation and marveling at the beauty around us. Most of it makes me feel small and insignificant. Yet this story shows that Your interest in my well-being and in my faith goes far beyond Your interest in the fish of the sea. Oddly enough, this produces a greater sense of responsibility in my heart for the world around me, but more important than that, I feel gratitude and a deeper desire to listen to You calling me --- to hear you invite me to come and eat with You.