He went down to K’far-Nachum, a town in the Galil, and made a practice of teaching them on Shabbat. They were amazed at the way he taught, because his word carried the ring of authority.
When he had finished speaking, he said to Shim‘on, “Put out into deep water, and let down your nets for a catch.” Shim‘on answered, “We’ve worked hard all night long, Rabbi, and haven’t caught a thing! But if you say so, I’ll let down the nets.” They did this and took in so many fish that their nets began to tear. So they motioned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them; and they came and filled both boats to the point of sinking. When he saw this, Shim‘on Kefa fell at Yeshua’s knees and said, “Get away from me, sir, because I’m a sinner!” For astonishment had seized him and everyone with him at the catch of fish they had taken, and likewise both Ya‘akov and Yochanan, Shim‘on’s partners. “Don’t be frightened,” Yeshua said to Shim‘on, “from now on you will be catching men — alive!” And as soon as they had beached their boats, they left everything behind and followed him.
Simon Peter was a fisherman by trade. It wouldn’t be farfetched to think that his own father had been a fisherman and that he learned everything he knew from him. He likely had grown up around the sea and knew all the ins and outs of his livelihood. So when Jesus tells him to pull out into the deep water during the day, Peter would have known that was not the time of day to be catching fish. He had already spent an entire evening fishing without success. Jesus’ direction sounds silly, impractical, likely to be a big waste of time and effort. Yet, Jesus’ very words carried a ring of authority – despite the fact that Peter knew it didn’t make sense to go out in the deep water in the middle of the day to catch fish, this great Rabbi who had been becoming more and more well-known throughout the region seemed to think it was a good idea. But still…if I had been Peter, I probably would have been thinking to myself, “This man clearly knows a lot about the scriptures and healing the sick, but what could He possibly know about fishing???”
“If you say so, I’ll let down the nets.”
Just a simple act of obedience that likely came from a very small amount of faith in that moment. That’s all it took. And to Peter’s shock and awe they caught so many fish that his nets began to tear and he had to holler at his fishing buddies for backup. Peter was now truly convinced that this Jesus, this traveling Rabbi was someone special – someone with whom he felt unworthy to be in the presence of.
Jesus then reassures him with those familiar words, “Do not be frightened – Don’t be afraid!” He then calls Peter, James and John into the ministry of fishing for souls – to which their response is to leave everything behind and follow after Him.
Once again I am seeing how God calls people into His service, into a holy calling and purpose, and He reassures them that they need not be afraid. “Come and be a part of what I am doing, but do not fear!”
If we truly grasped what God is doing and the fact that He wants us to be a part of it, we would leave everything behind to follow Him. We would fully trust and believe that He is greater and more precious than anything the earth has to offer. Today in church our pastor talked about how when we genuinely pray that God would show us more of Himself, He rarely responds by blessing us with health, wealth, and prosperity. Instead, He often begins to loosen our grip on the things that we were holding tightly to, perhaps unknowingly. Things that we were placing our trust in other than the LORD. He does this to show us that He is all-sufficient, to grow and deepen our dependence on Him rather than ourselves and the idols we have created (jobs, money, position, comfort, etc.).
Peter encountered God in the flesh and he recognized that being a part of what He was doing was worth leaving everything he knew behind – everything he was comfortable with – to follow after Christ into the unknown. All it took was obedience and just a little faith.
I want the kind of faith and obedience that causes me to leave behind the trivial things of this life that don’t matter to chase after the Only One Who does! If You say so, I’ll go! AMEN!