Net Profit (2)

  • By Pastor Boffey
  • on Thursday, January 31, 2008
John 21:1-12 (1) After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself. (2) There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. (3) Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. (4) But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. (5) Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. (6) And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. (7) Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea. (8) And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes. (9) As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. (10) Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. (11) Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken. (12) Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. In our previous meditation (“Net Profit” 1-30-08) we set forth some parallels between this account of the disciples' fishing expedition here on the Sea of Tiberias and the work of the gospel by “fishers of men” (MAT 4:19). We emphasize that this passage of Scripture is not parabolic but historical. The reader is referred to the previous meditation for an explanation of our reasoning. Remember that the Lord Jesus Christ likened the kingdom of heaven (the present Messianic heavenly reign through the gospel church) to a net full of good and bad fish from which the bad fish (the wicked) are separated at the end of the world (MAT 13:47-50). The kingdom will have its share of bad fish who “crept in unawares” (JUDE 1:4 c/w GAL 2:4) and, given the rancid nature of bad fish, we might dare to say that a study of this gospel truth could be called “Icktheology.” Or not. Knowing that the gospel kingdom era may be likened unto a long fishing trip, verses 7-12 of our passage may provoke a few more fishy observations about gospel work culminating in Christ's return. Consider: A) We note that when Peter realized it was the Lord Jesus that had called from shore, he “girt his fisher's coat unto him...” (v.7). We read not that he “donned his fish-head hat/mitre,” perhaps because it was still in use by the priests of Dagon and was only later retroactively attributed to Peter by his supposed papal successors of the Romish church which pretends him to be their first bishop. As to the pros or cons of Peter being naked, we will only observe that whereas gospel laborers may sometimes be found laboring naked involuntarily (1CO 4:11), God has not given any directive to New Testament ministers or saints such as was given to Isaiah (ISA 20:2-3). Let modest apparel be our rule for the outward man (1TI 2:9 c/w JUDE 1:23) with holy faith and conduct our rule for the inward man because the same Jesus said, “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” Let believers so abide in Christ that “...when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming” (1JO 2:28). B) Their net was full when they finally made it to shore, “...yet was not the net broken” (v.11). So, by the figure of MAT 13:47-50 the kingdom of heaven is as a net that when full is brought to shore, signifying the filling up of the gospel church to its full measure at the end of the world. It also shall not be broken although men and devils will have done their best to break it. But “it shall never be destroyed” (DAN 2:44), and it “...cannot be moved...” (HEB 12:28); the “...gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (MAT 16:18). It endures according to the solemn promises of Scripture which, like the disciples' net “...cannot be broken” (JOH 10:35). And although the Son of man may scarcely then find faith on the earth (LUK 18:8), it will be found and the camp of the saints will be delivered at the last moment from its enemies (REV 20:9)---it will make it to shore intact. Now the unbroken aspect of the kingdom/net may remind us of another gospel fact. Whereas Christ has decreed to preserve faith and the kingdom intact till He comes, He has also decreed that bad fish shall be in it till He comes. Wheat (the righteous) and tares (the wicked) grow together in the kingdom until the harvest which is the end of the world (MAT 13:24-30 c/w MAT 13:37-43). This decree is as unbreakable as that of the church's preservation and it stands to condemn the fanciful notions of certain dispensational or millennial schools of eschatology which affirm that the righteous will be taken from the wicked and out of the world long before its end. Noah and Lot dwelt amongst the wicked right up to the day of judgment and “even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed” (LUK 17:26-30). More later, Lord willing (JAM 4:15)....

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