Saturday, December 31

From 0 to 153

Scripture: Malachi 3-4, Proverbs 31, John 21

John 21:4–7 When daybreak came, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not know it was Jesus. 5 “Friends,” Jesus called to them, “you don’t have any fish, do you?” 

“No,” they answered. 

6 “Cast the net on the right side of the boat,” he told them, “and you’ll find some.” So they did, and they were unable to haul it in because of the large number of fish. 7 The disciple, the one Jesus loved, said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” 


John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

This was the verse that came to mind as I read today’s story of the disciples going fishing. I doubt this was a recreational fishing trip; I think it was a Peter-led return to their old life, their former occupation. They were giving up on Jesus and going back to fishing. 

But just like their first encounter with Jesus in Luke 5, they fished all night and caught nothing. When Jesus showed up on the shore, He knew that they had caught nothing—I think this was His doing and a teaching moment, reminding them of that first encounter, and the promise that with Him they would catch men for God and without Him they would do nothing. 

After Jesus instructed them to cast their nets on the right side of the boat, they secured a huge catch of fish—they went from nothing without Him to 153 with Him. It was John who first figured out that it was Jesus on shore. It was, in the words of Yogi Berra, “deja vu all over again.”

Remember that without Him you can do nothing; with Him, you’ll do a lot! From 0 to 153!


Obviously, Jesus’ words in John 15 have a specific meaning, because generally there is lots we can do without Jesus. What we can’t do without Him is catch people for God, influence people for Jesus and have the eternal impact He desires for us. 

As I think about the New Year and wanting my life to count for Him, this reminds me that I can’t do it without Him. Without Him, I’ll fish all night and catch nothing. Zero. Without Him, I can do nothing of eternal value and lasting impact. But with Him, I can “bear much fruit.” 153!

So I need to remain in Him—stay close to Jesus, for the life I want is the result of authentic relationship with Him. 

Prayer: I love you Jesus, and I want 2023 to be my most fruitful year yet. For that to happen, I must remain in You. Help me be closer than ever and more effective than ever for You.