We share the message of Jesus so that those who don’t know him will hear and follow him.
One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. 2 He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
I can think of many times in my life when I have missed opportunities to share with others the message of forgiveness and hope I have in Jesus. I believe in Jesus, in his death and resurrection and know that he brings meaning and purpose to my life, but even so, I need reminding of the clear call for me to be a part of spreading his life-giving message. Too often I get caught up in the whirlwind of life and become selfishly distracted by the things of this world that I neglect to stay focused on Jesus and the job he would have me do.
In today’s passage Jesus makes a clear call. Jesus takes Simon onto the lake to powerfully but lovingly demonstrate the challenge before him. Jesus enters the boat and goes with Simon out into the deep water. He then asks Simon to lower his nets. I wonder what Simon might be thinking and feeling at this moment. Simon has toiled all night long on the lake with nothing to show for his efforts. I can only imagine that his body is tired and aching and that he is feeling downhearted with his poor results. Perhaps he is thinking ‘Doesn’t Jesus know that there are no fish here?’ or ‘I wish I could just go home and get some rest!’ But Simon still trusts Jesus and does what he asks.
The result of his action this time is plentiful. Simon is overcome with the weight of his sin and falls at the feet of Jesus in repentance.
At the end of this reading we are made aware of the expectations that Jesus has for Simon and for all us who believe in him. Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people” (v10). Simon’s response is immediate. He understands what he is called to do. He leaves his fishing business, leaves everything behind and follows Jesus. He has a new direction and purpose for his life; to be a follower of Jesus who shares the gospel and disciples people so that they too will come to know Jesus and follow him.
This call is for all of us who believe.
Head: How can I make sure to take the time in the rush of daily life to listen to God’s words and to understand what it is that he calls me to do?
Heart: Consider how I might be more motivated by love to interact with those who do not believe especially in the times when I am feeling downhearted, distracted or weary.
Hands: What conversations can I have or what actions can I take with family, friends, neighbours and colleagues that will encourage their faith in Jesus.
Prayer: Father help me to hear your words and to act on them as Simon has done in this passage. Help me to remember that you have called me to work for you and help me to become better at that. I pray that I will become more determined to share your message of forgiveness and hope and less distracted by worldly things. I pray that my words and actions will reflect your love. Thank you that because of what you have done for me and with your help I am able to share the Gospel. In Jesus’ name, amen.
A song to listen to: This Life I Live