“Do not be afraid; from now on you will be fishing for people.”
My dad loved to take me fishing. To be honest, I didn’t always love to go fishing with my dad—but he looked forward to getting the tackle box and rods together, getting some frozen squid for the bait, and heading out on the boat into the bay to do some fishing.
We weren’t particularly good fishermen. We didn’t catch a lot. We didn’t even eat much seafood in our house growing up. But, I can still remember the salt air on my skin, the sun on my neck, and my hands sticky with the stench of squid.
I don’t know exactly what it would have been like for Simon Peter and his buddies having fished all night and having caught nothing—but I have a little idea. They would have been wet, cold, tired, with prabably the aroma of bait and dead fish swirling about them. They would have been hungry and grumpy.
And, here comes Jesus.
They can’t just finish up cleaning the nets and boats because Jesus commandeers them for teaching. That had to annoy the fishermen a little bit.
But, even more annoying, this land-lover Jesus starts giving them fishing tips. “Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”
Imagine the eye rolls from the experienced fishermen. What does this guy know? His father was a carpenter, not a fisherman.
But, then after they humor him, they haul in a catch so large that they need help getting it into the boat.
Of course, this story isn’t about fish. It’s about people. It’s about people hearing the Good News of Jesus. It’s about people coming to know God’s love for them.
Jesus tells Peter that he will be a “fisher of men.” Which will eventually become Peter’s job, but it’s also not just his—it’s ours too.
Our world is full of people who are hurting, who are sick, who are lonely and depressed, who are addicted, who are despondent—people who need to know that they are loved, that there is hope beyond their wildest imaginations.