by Tad Lindley
The net was laid out perfectly. The currents were just right. The corks jerked hard. They could feel him move the boat. The way the corks were going under, it was obviously an enormous king. His massive tail tugged on the lead line as they pulled in the net. The captain and the crew pulled this king over the gunwale onto the floor of the boat. Instead of the net pullers clubbing this king though, the king knocked them out, gave the captain two black eyes, took the keys to the motor and jumped back in the water! Then this giant king went down the net and picked out all the fish that were still in the net and let them go free!
A true story
The devil was set to make the greatest catch of his career. It was not a mere man he would catch; this time he wanted a king. He would not settle for a preacher or a prophet, he was after the Son of God.
The Bible relates to us how the devil entered into Judas Iscariot. Then Judas turned face on Jesus. Perhaps you are very familiar with that part of the story. Surely the princes of hell must have squealed with delight as they saw Jesus captured, tortured, and humiliated. Their net was closing in on him. The very Messiah, God manifest in the flesh, was about to become a trophy of hell.
The corks went under
Every fallen angel and Satan himself must have been cheering as our Lord Jesus trudged the path to Calvary. When the spikes were driven through our God, great cheers must have arisen from the pit. It appeared that Jesus was completely caught. In a short time, he would be joining them in the place of the dead.
They could not have known that not only would they lose this fish, but that this fish would shatter their world. For had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory (I Corinthians 2:8). What hell failed to understand about Jesus is that death could not hold him.
The king hits the deck of the boat
When Jesus left this life and descended into the place of the dead, hell, he took it by storm. He didn’t lie down and take licks from the devil and his imps. Instead, he stepped to the very pulpit of hell and began to preach to those disobedient souls who lived on earth when Noah preached (I Peter 3:19-20). Then Jesus took the keys to death and hell away. And as he strode out of hell and ascended back into the land of the living, these words echo across time, I am he that liveth and was dead; and behold I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of death and hell (Revelation 1:18). The apostle, Paul, would later ask this question, O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (I Corinthians 15:55).
Other fish set free
Jesus entered Satan’s snare for one reason. He wanted to set men free from sin. For the joy that was set down before him [he] endured the cross… (Hebrews 12:2). When Jesus came back from the dead, he didn’t come back alone. He purchased our salvation with his own blood (Acts 20:28).
The King of Kings allowed himself to be crucified so that he might speak victory over our lives. When the King of Kings beat down the devil and the forces of hell, he didn’t come out of that tomb alone. The alcoholic and drug addict would come out of the tomb of their lives and live again. Dried up marriages that seemed beyond hope would be restored and flourish. Abused and broken people would rise up in victory and walk out of the tombs of bitterness and depression.
This is a fish story that we never get tired of hearing. It just gets bigger by the telling. Every time someone repents of their sins and is born of the water and the spirit, another fish is coming out of the net. It is awesome.
If you feel like a fish stuck in a net, remember Jesus has been there before. He wants to set you free. He can set you free. Ask him. Not only does he hear you, but he knows exactly where you are. Reach out and touch him, and he will deliver you.
Tad Lindley is a minister at the Bethel United Pentecostal Church.