Monday, May 15, 2023

           Peter was a remarkable man.  Fisherman.  Proud.  He was a big mouth and big maker of promises.  Though we have no idea about his physical appearance, I envision him as a tough, brawny man who can handle a set of nets better than anybody. He was capable of moments of profound faith and prolific failure.  His first recorded words in the Bible are found in Luke 5. He answered a suggestion from Jesus who told him to drop his nets into the deep water in hopes of catching a large haul of fish.  It had been a long and lean night.  The fish were not biting.  And most fishermen know that feeling.  It would be easy to imagine that he and the other fishermen simply wanted to head for shore and try their luck again on another day.  He said, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets” (Luke 5:5).
            At that one moment, it would have been hard for anyone to see in Peter what Jesus saw in him.  He was coming off an all-night shift where there was nothing to show for it.  The Monday-morning fisherman would have likely been hooting and howling at him and his empty nets.  Success was not only elusive it was non-existent that night.  But Jesus saw something else in him and gave him a simple test—just try it one more time.  See what happens.  Change your approach by just a few beats.  Peter’s reply teaches us some lessons too.
            First, Peter demonstrated trust.  He took Jesus at His word.  He believed Jesus and believed in Him.  “Because you say so,” Peter said.  The Lord may have seen something in this rugged fisherman but this angler saw something in Jesus too.  Any relationship with Jesus begins with trust.  We take Him at His Word.  We trust Him with the important and consequential things of life and death.  This soon-to-be disciple trusted Jesus with his job and livelihood.  Fishing was not so much for fun as it was a way to survive and put food on the table.  And even today, we are called to trust Jesus at the most urgent levels of life and even life itself.
            Second, Peter obeyed Jesus.  He did what he was told.  Obedience is nothing more complicated than doing what the Lord plainly tells us to do.  We do not bargain or barter our way to something else or something less.  We do not water down what He has said.  We do not seek to be “technically compliant.”  We salute and follow through with the Lord’s instructions.  Peter said “I will let down the nets.”  To obey means we do it.  And when we do it, then, and only then, have we obeyed.  Peter obeyed.  He dropped his nets as Jesus had directed.
            Third, Peter took a risk of faith.  He could not see the future.  He could not see nets full and brimming with fish.  All he had was a command.  Faith demands a risk.  If we could see the outcomes, there would be no risk.  If results were guaranteed, there would be no need to act on God’s word or direction.  But faith does not work that way.  Faith calls us to act before the final score is known.  Faith calls us to step forward when we might have every reason to stay still or even take a step backward.   
            Fourth, Peter called Jesus “Master.”  Maybe he had overheard Jesus’ teaching just a bit earlier at the Sea of Galilee.  Maybe he had seen a miracle or two.  Maybe he had heard Jesus preach from the scroll of Isaiah in Luke 4.  Maybe he just knew from Jesus’ words and tone that He was no ordinary by-stander or teacher.  No, He was worthy of any title Peter could give him.  If we use the title “Master,” we need to be ready to take directions and commands from the one to whom we give such a title.  It would seem that this fisherman was open to much, much more than just fishing tips or tales.   
            These early words from Peter help us to see in him what Jesus saw.  We see glimpses and traces of the man he would become—preacher, letter writer, evangelist, apostle and martyr.  Just as we meet him carrying nets, he would one day carry chains for the sake of Christ and the gospel.  Just as he was a fisherman, he would become a tireless fisher of men.  He was not perfect—far from it.  But what disciple is perfect—in Bible times or even today?  He was a called man who listened well.  He was a commanded man who obeyed immediately.  He was an unfinished man who had just met a Carpenter from Nazareth.  Have a great Monday!  Remember you can share our worship any time at 

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