Jesus told Simon to put his nets down into the deep water. And, Peter’s response was a reluctant one. “Master, we have worked all night long, but we have caught nothing.” Um, Jesus. I just did that. You actually saw me cleaning up my empty nets before you borrowed my boat.
But, after hearing what must have been one amazing sermon, Simon decides to trust this man he’s been listening to. Just dip his big toe into the deep water of faith. “Yet, if you say so, I will let down the nets.” Fine, Jesus. Because you said so. Not because I believe anything. Not because anything in my past experience is telling me any of this makes sense. It’s honestly come down to the fact that you are with me, Jesus, and you said so.
And, of course, there were so many fish, so much blessing, the nets broke, and Simon had to call in the second boat, and two new people were amazed at what Jesus did. They knew it was nothing short of a miracle. They were seasoned fishermen and they knew that these things simply don’t just happen. It was something about Who Jesus was.
And Jesus was there. Calling them, and reminding them and letting them know this blessing was about so much more than catching fish.“Don’t be afraid”, Jesus said. Don’t be overwhelmed at what is going on and what I’m asking you to do. I am with you. From this boat ride on, this fish catching on, you will shift from fishing for fish which is temporal to fishing for people, which is eternal.
The tectonic plates of your life just shifted, ready or not. So, even when you don’t get it or see it in the natural, remember.
Remember. Remember. I am here. In the boat with you. And you people have been called and trained and prepared to fish for people from the moment you began fishing for fish. You know all the nuances about putting bait on hooks, about going where the fish are. You know it isn’t easy and it takes time.
It isn’t by accident you have been training as fishermen and not businessmen or carpenters. Your leadership and coarse and loud and bold personalities were poured into you on purpose. You people will be the battering rams of My Church. You people will go on to hold my hand and walk on water and heal people with your shadow and speak in ways that the Holy Spirit convicts thousands of hearts in an afternoon. You are not quiet and gentle or a shepherd for a reason. It is all on purpose. Even your frustration on the shore, cleaning out your empty nets after a disappointing night. All on purpose. All to position you to hear my words, and be so amazed you are willing to drop it all. Drop those physical nets for spiritual ones, and follow Me.
Yes, it might have looked to all the world that you were nothing but coarse fishermen with no catch.
But I saw the birth of a Church. And, above all, I wanted you in the boat with me. And I wanted to bless you so abundantly that you would be humbled by awe. And you would understand that you are a sinner. On your own, you come up empty handed, but with Me–even what you hoped for–a decent night’s catch, becomes adjusted to reflect the Kingdom of God. Beyond what you even know to hope for.
I mean, aren’t boats overflowing with fish from the deep places pretty much a fisherman’s dream?Most likely an impossibility?
And yet. Jesus said so.