Hi, I’m Tim Eldridge, and I lead Presence Ministries International with my wife, Sue. We are probably better known for hosting a conference called European Leaders Alliance. I want to welcome you today to God Today. I want to share something really simple with you, yet it’s profound. In Luke 4, there’s the story of Jesus asking the disciples to throw their nets. What we don’t appreciate is the nets were over the starboard side, which is all the rigging was on those historic ships. What He was really saying to the disciples was, “Cast your nets, throw your nets on the side of inconvenience.” They had been fishing all night on the port side of the boat and caught nothing.
They are professional fishermen and Jesus is saying, “Do what is wrong to your profession, throw the net the opposite way, even if it is inconvenient.” That story starts talking about where they are washing the nets. The actual translation in the Greek is that they were actually “mending” the nets because the nets were torn. Of course, a net is only as strong as its weakest link. I think it is a wonderful metaphor for the Church – we are a net together. God wants to give us a great catch too. We have to mend our nets to make sure they are strong. Every knot is a relationship.
At that time, when they were mending the nets, they lose the catch – if you read the story. There is a similar passage on John 21. Although, that is at the end of Jesus’ ministry whereas Luke 4 is at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. The difference is, the disciples have walked three years with Jesus, and now Jesus is resurrected. When He dies, the disciples are discouraged, they go back to fishing – something they are familiar with. Jesus is cooking breakfast on the beach. He calls to them and says, “Cast your net on the other side.” Of course, it is a symbol of miracle and the disciples realize it is Jesus. Up until that time they didn’t realize who it was.
They throw the net on the other side, and of course this time they get a huge catch – 153 fish. I believe God wants us, as the Church, to be a strong net because He is trying to give us a catch. As the Church works together, relationship to relationship, that net can take the weight and the strain of the catch He wants to give us. There is a wonderful ending to that story because when Peter denied Jesus three times, and we heard the cock crow, there was an aroma of a barbecue taking place. You can read that in John 20. Here, Jesus is cooking breakfast on the beach – the fish. It is that same aroma that comes and of course He comes to restore relationship. He wants to restore the relationship that Peter has broken. He wants to do the same with us.
I want to pray for you because He is committed to relationship. When He came, the Pharisees and the rulers, the Jewish religion at the time was all about rules. They had to follow 500 rules. Jesus came not with rules, but with relationship. He does the same with us. He is coming to us today and says, “I long for a relationship with you, I long for a relationship with you to have with each other so that we can be this net for even more relationships to come into that.” People, not fish, but people into His church.
I want to end by praying for you. If you need relationship restored with anyone – maybe a family member, or a church, or somebody in a wider sphere, I pray that God – as He is the Restorer – that He comes and restores your relationships. The net is mended so that we can be as effective together as the way we have been designed. We were designed to be in relationship with other people. It is one of the few things we can take into eternity – relationships. There is not much else we can take, but we can take relationships. I pray for you now. Holy Spirit, come. Mend and repair, and restore every relationship that each of us is supposed to have in our lives. Strengthen those knots around us, that we might be effective for your Kingdom. Amen.