Back in Jesus’ day, just as it is today, so many leaders had followers whose egos and pride needed affirmation from others as well as their mentor. The disciples of Jesus were no different than you or me in this respect. Take a look at Peter; he was bold and brash, and sometimes pushed back at what Jesus taught, and insisted on doing things his way. On one occasion, he boasted that although the other disciples might quit and give up, he never would. He was in it to the end, no matter what. But that turned out to be all talk.

There were also the brothers Jesus nicknamed “the sons of thunder” – James and John, the sons of Zebedee. Through their mother, they sought to be granted the right to sit at His right and left hand in His coming kingdom. Not only that, but they got upset because some people in a Samaritan village did not want to welcome Jesus the way they thought they should, so they asked the Lord if they could call fire down out of heaven and destroy them. Our Lord reminded them, that was not His way of convincing people of the truth. Furthermore, Jesus often had to take Peter, James, and John aside because they were jockeying for position in who would be number one after He ascended into heaven. So He needed to instruct them that in His realm if you wanted to be first you had to start out being last.

But the real collision of personalities and pride came to a head in one of the most electrifying incidents that transpired after Jesus rose from the dead while visiting with His disciples to reassure them of His future return to set up the kingdom of heaven. It occurred after the turmoil of His crucifixion had died down and people started getting on with their lives.

Some of the disciples had gone back home to Galilee to resume their former occupation as fishermen. After they had been out all night on Lake Tiberias, they returned to shore with empty nets. As the boat neared land, they saw a solitary figure standing onshore watching them. It was early in the morning and the misty fog kept them from seeing the man clearly. But all at once he cupped his hands to his mouth and hollered out to them, “Friends, do you have any fish?” Thinking that perhaps he was a fish merchant, they yelled back, “No, we didn’t catch anything!”

But instead of turning and walking off, the figure on the shore called out again and told them to turn around and go back out to sea; to throw their nets over the right side of the boat and they would have a good catch. There was something about the authority in his voice that convinced them to go back out and do what he said. To their amazement, the net filled so quickly with so many fish that they were unable to lift it into the boat, so they dragged it behind the ship as they drifted back to shore.

As they neared shallow waters and were about 100 yards from landing, the man on the beach came into clearer view. At that moment, the disciple named John turned to another disciple called Peter and said with a hushed voice of astonishment, “I think it’s our Lord!” As soon as Peter, who was wearing only a loin cloth, heard that it was Jesus, he grabbed the long shirt he had taken off, wrapped it around him and embarrassingly jumped into the water, leaving the other disciples in the boat trying to tow the net bulging with fish to shore.

As soon as they neared land, they saw to their amazement there was a heap of burning coals upon which several fish had been laid, along with some freshly baked flatbread. The man that John was sure had to be Jesus greeted them and invited them to bring some of the fresh fish they had just caught and put it on the fire. At this point, Peter came to his senses and jumped back into the boat, grabbed the net and helped drag it to shore. But their lesson on true leadership was not over, it had just begun.

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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