It’s that time of year again, when people are looking around, and hoping for Christmas miracles. People are looking up this holiday season. Many are looking for Santa, while some are continuing to look upward to our Father in Heaven and thanking Him for His Son. Others are hoping for snow. I believe in miracles and don’t fault people for wanting to see them. I was thinking about miracles and my desire to see them today when I was finishing up the Gospel of John.

Salvation

The Bible is full of miracles, and most of them aren’t difficult to see if you believe. I’m sure most of you have heard the expression, “Doubting Thomas.” You might be familiar with the story of Thomas not believing the other disciples’ testimony of the Lord’s resurrection and appearing to them. Thomas needed to see it for himself. When Thomas saw the resurrected Lord, he declared, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28 NIV) When Jesus replied to Thomas, He said something I think about often.

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

John 20:29 (NIV)

I have to be transparent and tell you I find myself envying the disciples sometimes. At least in the area of having spent time with the Lord Jesus. They saw, and they believed. Thomas believed because he saw Jesus in the flesh standing before him. We might not see the resurrected Lord before us in the flesh today, but we can still see the miracle of His resurrection if our eyes are open to see.

“But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”

John 10:38 (NIV)

Jesus told the Jews who didn’t believe He was the Messiah sent by God to believe in the things He did and know that it was God who did them. Sometimes our faith can go up and down. We might be looking for miracles in our lives and not seeing them. In these times, it’s not a bad idea to look up, and then look back, and then look up again. We look up to see the Lord and glorify Him regardless of the miracles we see, or don’t see, in our lives. We look back to see where He’s brought us from, and then we look back up to thank Him for what He’s brought us through.

If we see no other miracle in our life today, the miracle of salvation is good enough.

Fish Stories

Sometimes, when we’re reading the Bible, we might try and see something more than what’s there. I find this especially true when it comes to numbers and certain events.

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

John 21:4 (NIV)

The previous night, Peter and several of the other disciples when out to fish. After fishing all night they had caught nothing. This is where John 21:4 comes in.

He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.

John 21:5-7 (NIV)

We could look at this and think the disciples didn’t recognize it was Jesus on the shore until the fish were caught for many reasons. Perhaps they needed their eyes opened to see Jesus clearly. Some have said they went fishing because they were going back to their old way of life and needed to be reminded of where they came from. Some say that John was more spiritually minded than Peter, and that’s why John recognized Jesus first. The miracle I see here is the catching of the fish. Before I get into that, let’s take a look at one more thing.

The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.

John 21:8 (NIV)

If you’re familiar with North American football, then you might know a football field is 120 yards in length. Each end zone is 10 yards long, which means we’re looking at a playing area of 100 yards between the end zones. If someone is standing at one end of the playing field, and someone else is standing at the other end, it’s not easy to clearly make out who the person is at the other end if you don’t know who it is. You might be able to see one another’s face in clear conditions. If one person shouts to the other, you can probably hear them if you’re trying hard enough.

This is about the distance Jesus was from the disciples who were out fishing. We know from verse 4 that it was early morning. So, here are the disciples on a boat, with the waves lapping, early in the morning after fishing all night. There’s likely to be some haze about at this early hour. They see a man on the shore who calls out, asking if they’ve caught any fish. They answer in the negative, so He tells them to cast their net out on the right side, and they’ll catch some. They do as the man tells them, and they catch so many fish they can’t haul the net back in.

At the very least, they should remember the first time they met Jesus after fishing all night with no catch. I believe John remembered and said, “It is the Lord!”

Was there a miracle here in the catching of the fish? Yes, I believe so. However, I don’t think it had to do with recognizing the Lord and such.

So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn.

John 21:11 (NIV)

I’ve read various theories about the number of fish, meaning one thing or another. However, I don’t see the Lord hiding messages in the Bible. What stands out to me regarding this catch are three things.

  1. It was full of large fish.
  2. There were 153 fish.
  3. The net wasn’t torn.

Instead of a net full of a bunch of small fish that would be thrown back with some large fish to keep, all of the fish are large. In fact, there’s so many large fish that they count them all to tell other people about it. Hence, 153 fish. Unlike the previous encounter when their nets were full of fish and to the point of breaking, the net didn’t break this time (cf. Luke 5:6).

Conclusion

There’s nothing wrong with looking for miracles in the Bible or in our lives. I expect God to do more miracles in my life and through me. Not because I deserve it or because I’m worthy, but because of who He is. I see looking for and expecting miracles as part of our faith in God. After all, what is faith?

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:1 (KJV)

Do you know God? God knows you, and He loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, right now, and He wants you to know Him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart, and I receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.