Luke 5.8, 10
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.”
Reflection: A Bad Day Fishing
By John Tillman
The Bible describes Peter as a fisherman. But every time we see him fishing in the scriptures he is failing at it. Peter never catches a fish without Christ’s help.
We are not meant to assume from this that Peter was a bad fisherman. Quite the opposite. We are meant to assume that Peter was a good fisherman. These days are recorded because of their uniqueness, not their normalcy. This means that we see Peter fishing on the worst days of his career.
You learn a lot about people on their worst days. The days when nothing seems to work…when the project loses funding…when despite our best efforts, we came up empty.
Imagine for a moment that all Jesus was there for on his worst day was to solve Peter’s problem. Imagine if Jesus granted him a windfall of a miracle catch, then left Peter there to continue as usual, but now flush with operating capital flopping around on the beach. If we are honest that’s the kind of miracle we want from God. “Just bless what I’m already doing, God. Don’t ask me to change!”
Peter’s first recorded words to Jesus in response the miracle are “go away.” Peter seems to believe that his sins disqualify him from the financial blessing he has just received and certainly from being a follower of Jesus.
But Jesus didn’t come to bless Peter’s business, he came to change it. Jesus didn’t ask for Peter to tithe a portion of the fish to his ministry, he asked Peter to offer his entire self, business and all to “fish for men.”
Peter is fascinating. He seems prideful at times, yet humble at others. He is outspoken yet hides when confronted. He does lacks the ambition of the Zebedees. But he often takes the initiative, leading other disciples and even attempting to lead Jesus.
Yet he never seems to seek directly for power or control. Perhaps this is precisely why Jesus specifically calls him to strengthen his brothers and places him in a position of leadership. Jesus, instead of solving Peter’s earthly problem made him part of Heaven’s solution to the world’s problem. He wants to do the same with us.
Jesus will show up on our worst days. He is calling us to fish. Peter never catches a fish without Christ’s help. And neither will we.
Follow him today. Find out how he will direct you to fish.
Prayer: The Request for Presence
Open my eyes, that I may see the wonders of your law. — Psalm 119.18
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Read more about In the Face of Grief
Peter’s experience on the shore with Jesus after returning to fishing for fish instead of men showed the raw and sensitive reality of his emotional state.
Read more about God of the Weak and Doubtful
Christ did not allow Peter to sink in the waves when his faith was too weak. He will extend his loving hand to you as well. Thank God, that he is the God of the weak and the doubtful.