Dear Friends, another year draws to a close – Praise God! One year closer to walking streets of gold!:) Yes, we love the life God has given us, but it doesn’t take much before, like Abraham, we set our hope on that city ‘with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.’ (Heb 11:10)
I often think about the ‘miraculous catch of fish’ in John chapter 21, and how it actually details the number caught: 153. (John 21:11) The disciples must have counted them. They must have valued every one, taken none for granted. With a ‘large haul’ it can be easy to lose sight of the value of each item, but not in this case.
The disciples had been fishing all night, without catching anything. Do you feel like that in your witness? Do you feel weary, like you have loved and believed in Jesus, but not seen much fruit, not seen much impact? The disciples had also just gone through a violent few days, losing Jesus to crucifixion and fearing for their own lives. They had fear and sorrow. Do you feel fear in this life, sorrow? I often get overwhelmed at the sin and suffering of this world, the violence and avarice of the human heart, my own heart! I sometimes sink to the floor and just cry to God, asking him why, asking him how I fight this, how I can reach people, save people, be part of the victorious wind of Christ sweeping this dark world… (Hab 2:14)
Against a dark night of catching nothing, a dark season of fear and sorrow, we would value every ‘catch’, every single soul and shred of true light. We would count every ‘fish’, take nothing and no God-given provision for granted…
Here’s the amazing thing: Jesus focuses in on the ‘one’. He says, ‘Where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name, I am with you there.’ (Mt 18:20) He leaves the 99, and seeks the 1. (Luke 15) After a powerful, history-shaking defeat of death, he meets alone with 2 people (not 2000 people) on a long walk, and walks with them, talks to them, takes time to commune deeply… (Luke 24) In Jesus, the beauty of the 153 fish is not the ‘total number’, but each and every fish in the count. Every fish matters, every soul, every quiet, even ‘secret’ moment with Christ, who ‘is all, and is in all.’ (Col 3:11; Mt 6:4)
You, my friend, are the 'one'. Never lost in a crowd, never just part of a 'grand total'. Jesus leaves the rest of us, to rest with you. Spend some precious, quiet, meaningful time just being with Jesus. Just sit with him, and sigh. For this 'alone time' with you, he came, lived, died, and rose again. In many respects, my friend, you are the reason for the season!:)
Merry Christmas, my friends! May the Lord give you a peace that passes understanding these next days, and a fresh vision of His own – and your own – eternal inheritance!
Peter Walker. I hope you enjoy these reflections. Please feel free to comment!:)