The story of the great miraculous catch of fish has special meaning to me. When I first started rehearsing for “The Rock & The Rabbi” I was told the story of how that show came about. The short version is: Gary Richardson was sitting in a restaurant talking with some of his friends when one of them mentioned to Gary that there were actually two miraculous catches of fish. They checked it out and sure enough, there’s this one, and one at the end of Jesus’ ministry on earth. If you never read with chronology in mind, you might miss it. So, the framework of the show was born, as the show starts with this catch of fish and ends with the other.
Can you imagine being there that morning? The guys had been out fishing all night and hadn’t caught anything. Defeated, they head back for shore only to find Jesus teaching to a huge crowd of people. I love how it plays out after Jesus finishes what he has to tell the crowd. He tells Peter to get back in the boats because they were all going fishing again! I love Peter’s response:
5 “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, we’ll try again.”
That’s just like Jesus – always using the unlikely or seemingly insignificant to frame up His most amazing teaching moments. I wish I could train myself to listen to His still, small voice more often. I have a feeling I miss out on many teaching moments.
The other thing that stands out in this chapter is in verse 39:
39 But no one who drinks the old wine seems to want the fresh and the new. ‘The old is better,’ they say.”
I had to get this from my commentary (Life Application New Testament Commentary), but it’s good.
The Christian church was never meant to be a sect or adaptation of Judaism. Instead, Christ fulfills the intent of the Old Testament Scripture. The law reveals the nature and will of God; Jesus Christ reveals the nature and will of God. But while the law could only point out sin and condemn people, Jesus Christ gave His life to bring forgiveness of sin and salvation. These parables speak of Jesus’ entire mission and the new era He inaugurated by His entrance into human history.
The new wine was the newness of the gospel as exemplified in the person of Jesus Christ. Like old wineskins, the Pharisees and indeed the entire religious system of Judaism had become too rigid to accept Jesus who could not be contained in their traditions or rules. Their understanding of faithfulness to the law had become unsuitable for the fresh, dynamic power of Christ’s message. They were the self-appointed guardians of the “old garment” and the “old wineskins.”
Change is never easy. Our very nature is comfortable with the known. The encouragement today is to step out into the unknown – take an adventure. Where’s your adventure: forgiveness? witnessing? purity? dBrag? excellence at work? excellence as a husband or father?