Peter may have felt like a prop in the larger play when Jesus asked to use his boat. He’s been up all night, but had to wash out his nets before going home to bed. He heard what Jesus said at least with half an ear. It had been a disappointing night’s work – caught absolutely NOTHING. No sales. No money today. His wife would NOT be pleased. He knew these hard times all too well. As Jesus was wrapping up his talk, Peter looked forward to going home, whatever the consequences.
“You want me to WHAT?!” Peter must have thought this itinerant carpenter was crazy to think he knew ANYTHING about fishing. I can hear him saying, “Go out again to fish? We’ve been there and done that!” There are NO fish in the lake and daytime is NOT when you fish. I’m tired and I do NOT want to do this, but whatever…He will soon find out this is a useless exercise.”
Nets put out. “What’s happening? Fish! My nets are full, so full I can’t haul them into the boat! Better get some help. I’ll call James and John.” “I’ve never seen so many fish! Where have they been all night? Wow, we have a boat full, and there are still more. In fact, I think this boat is starting to sink! OOPS! How is this happening?”
“Why is Jesus smiling?” Could he have caused this? He must have! Who is he anyway? How did he bring all these fish here at this time of day? That’s a God thing! He must be a holy man to have that kind of power. And he’s done this for me! Why? I’m just a poor fisherman who let him use my boat. I don’t deserve this, and he must not realize how unholy I am! I must ask him to leave because I’m not worthy to be in his presence. It’s all just too much!”
Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid. I have a job for you and instead of my leaving, I want you to come with me. I want your company, your presence, your friendship. Leave the work you are comfortable with and join us in telling the world the Good News of the Gospel. I am life, light, all you will ever need. Come with me.”
So, Peter, James and John all got out of the boat, left the boats, the nets, the fish and followed Jesus. Life would never be the same. When they lost their way after Jesus’ crucifixion, they went back to fishing. Once more, Jesus called them to let down their nets for a catch, and when they realized who he was, they left all, never to return.