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  • Writer's pictureDeborah

Seven Disciples

Luke 5:2-11 ESV

John 21:1-14 ESV


The first time Jesus told the disciples to cast their nets into the water was at the beginning of His ministry.

In Luke 5:2-11 we read that Jesus “saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon's, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.”

Simon Peter and the sons of Zebedee (James and John) were in Simon’s boat fishing early in Jesus’ ministry. They had been fishing all night and hadn’t caught one fish. Jesus told them to cast their nets in the water and then they pulled in a large number of fish. The only difference was that JESUS told them to put their nets in the water.

They believed and were forgiven that day.

Jesus called Peter, James, and John TO Him that day.

They were his inner circle “go to guys”.

Jesus knew that day who they were and who they would become. When Peter, James, and John left everything and followed Jesus that day they were saying “YES” to the life God was calling them TO.

The catch is, they didn’t know that. We are often clueless. When God first called me to ministry, I didn’t really know what that meant. I knew there was something God had for me, but I wasn’t sure what it meant. I was twenty years old. Without knowing exactly what God had for me, I said yes. Looking back, I think I said yes the day I went to hear Billy Graham speak at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City in September of 1967. I didn’t know what I was saying YES to, but I didn’t care. I said yes.

As it turned out I served in five churches over a span of 40 years. I had been married to a pastor and then I became part of a healing ministry. I thought I was near the end of my days in ministry.

Much to my surprise, in 2007 God came calling again. This time He told me to go to Seminary. The call really threw me for a loop. I didn’t immediately say yes this time. I was 54 years old. I tried to reason with God telling Him all the reasons I should not go.

God pressed on.

So, I enrolled as a student at Bethel Seminary in St. Paul. I worked a full time job, headed up a ministry, and was a full time student from 2007-2013 when I graduated with my Master of Divinity degree. Looking back I don’t remember how hard it was (and it was). I remember how much God blessed me with great professors who poured themselves into their students. While I was a pastors wife I worked primarily as a writer, a speaker, and a photographer. I wrote and took photographs for a newspaper, I worked as a portrait photographer, and while I was in Seminary I worked for an executive call center that serviced U.S. Congressional offices. I had no idea what God had in store for me next, but I said yes.

I don’t think the first day Jesus called Peter, James, and John was much different. They didn’t know why Jesus called them, but they said yes.

After the crucifixion and the resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples again.

In John 21:1-14, Jesus appeared to seven disciples.

“After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. 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. That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. 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.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.”

Jesus told them to cast their nets into the water. They caught 153 large fish. The number is no accident. The number 153 resembled abundance. Some believe the 153 fish included all species which means all are welcome in the kingdom. Regardless of race or background, all can come to Jesus to be forgiven. (

When we turn to God and say yes, we ARE forgiven.

Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Be Forgiven

Spend time with Jesus receiving forgiveness. Let yourself be loved for who you are!

In God, Deborah


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