Fish for fishermen to make fishers of men
Pastor Joshin John USA
Jesus’s plan for each person hinges on the Kingdom of God, which in turn is propagated to us by the Gospel. Gospel needs message bearers both in word and deed, and hence, Jesus called young men to be His first disciples who will not only become the message (disciple), but also bear the message wherever He sends them.
In one such instance of calling young men for His service, Jesus asked Peter to move his boat away from the land so He may teach the crowds. The words of Jesus were not only heard by the crowd of people on the shores of lake of Gennesaret, but in all possibility by the school of fish in the lake. When Jesus stopped speaking, He prods Peter to move his boat farther into the water. The boat still has Jesus as it is put out into the deep water. Since there is no explicit mention of crowds being sent back to their homes, it would mean that the crowds are still there, witnessing the unfolding of a miracle. Just as the people stayed on the shore, the fish would also have stayed at their position in water, recognizing their Creator. All it took Peter was to cast his net for the big catch. The Presence of Jesus made the difference!
Moses, the shepherd with 40 years of experience, asked God “Or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to provide enough for them?” (Numbers 11:22b). In contrast, Peter, with only a few years of experience as a fisherman, told Jesus that he will obey Him at His word irrespective of the outcome of his past efforts. It is our obedience to God which brings the change, and not our wealth of knowledge or our past experiences. Irrespective of how good or bad the bygone may have been, Jesus is calling us to obey so He can begin the work of transformation in us.
The Israelites in Exodus did not recognize God’s beckon and call to follow and obey Him from their heart. Hence, they sought food more than the food-giver. The submissive obedience to God is much beyond just experiencing His goodness in provision and protection. Peter got the food for his table through the miracle, but he saw Someone beyond the food. Peter recognized the Giver through the Gift of a miraculous catch. In all the provisions we enjoy, may we see the Provider and recognize His desire for us to be His follower. Provisions are given not only for us to thankfully partake, but also that we may Follow the Provider in more earnest.
Jesus spoke to Peter while they were still in the deep sea that from then on he will catch men. The mandate for Peter’s life was given in the absence of the multitude. God can speak to us even when we are not in church or in the company of saints. Even in the dearth of spiritual ambience can come the high call towards life’s purpose as designed by God! Following Christ comes with the price tag of leaving behind those things and individuals which cannot be included in the High Call, which Peter did. Are we willing to Listen, Submit, and Obey Him, so that we may Follow Him who included us in His grand plan? May God help us to look beyond the filled nets to see the Creator and His purpose – to become Christ’s followers so as to bear His Message in this generation.