What moves someone to follow Jesus? How does God’s Spirit change
our lives? Simon Peter’s story involves a dramatic experience in a
familiar setting that disrupts his routine, makes him rethink what he
knows, and ultimately leads him on a new path.
This disciple is one of my favorites. I relate to his impulsive
nature and his ability to put his foot in his mouth. His “all in”
enthusiasm can make him seem “all or nothing.” It takes more than
subtle instruction for this fisherman to learn what he needs to know.
Perhaps as a thank you for his use of Simon’s boat, Jesus tells him to go into deep water and catch some fish. Peter’s long night of work resulted in empty nets that he has just finished cleaning. Simon Peter knows his trade well, but this rabbi thinks he has something to teach him. I hear him sigh loudly, with some exasperation and a tinge of mocking mixed into his, “Yet if you say so” (v. 5).
Imagine Simon’s surprise when the nets fill with an over-
whelming number of fish! We might expect Peter to be grateful, but
instead he asks Jesus to leave. Peter sees more than the huge catch; he
understands for the first time who Jesus is. He is not worthy of what
just happened to him; he feels unworthy to be near this person who
has just given him this miraculous bounty.
Jesus responds with one of my favorite phrases in Scripture: Do not be afraid (v. 10). Simon puts his trust in this one who sees who he will become and leaves everything to follow him. What would it take for us to not be afraid to do the same?
What is God trying to teach you today? What would it take for you to be teachable?
God, open our eyes to see what you are teaching us. Open our minds so that we may understand it. Open our hearts so that we will follow your lead. Amen.