Friday, April 17, 2009

Another Fish Story

Easter Friday

Today's Word
Acts 4:1-12 (Peter and John are arrested; Peter further testifies in Jesus' behalf)
Psalm 118:1-4, 22-27 (The Lord is God, and He has given us light)
John 21:1:14 (An amazing catch)

A new day.

Peter, a fisherman by trade before he was fully initiated in the Holy Spirit had (for the time being, anyway) had returned to his profession. Some of the disciples had chosen to join him. Calm waters at sea and being away from noisy crowds would give these men a chance to clear their heads and consider all that had recently happened.

Well, as can happen on fishing trips, neither the fish nor the men seemed to be taking the bait. The guys are out on the boat all night and didn't have anything to show for it . Morning comes, and a figure is seen on the beach. Perhaps the boat is just far enough offshore that they can't make out who it is. This new arrival asks if they had any luck fishing, and when the report comes back that nothing was caught, he suggests making another cast of the nets. The men do this, and the nets are filled to the breaking point! Where did all these fish come from?

John immediately sees this as the miracle it is, and tells Peter: "It is the Lord!"

Now Peter, whom I've called upon before for his occasionally unorthodox reactions in his relationship with Jesus, jumps into the water and swims to shore. The seasoned fisherman doesn't want to wait or see to hauling in the catch - and this was his chosen profession! Well, it was until now.

John means to show us in this event how Peter had become ready to shift gears; change careers; "abandon it all for the sake of the call." There's still lots of unanswered questions - how this affects his family. It would appear that God would provide for them somehow. They most likely became disciples, seeing a big change in Peter and trusting that this was meant for him - the best way he could be the best he could be. Peter would still have to reconcile himself by affirming his love for Jesus three times - thus negating his triple denial on the eve of the crucifixion.

It's made rather clear throughout the New Testament that Peter had come from "Leave me, Lord, for I am a sinful man" through "Let's build three tents" through Jesus' admonition "Get thee behind Me, Satan!" through denial to affirmation and leadership. His conversion took small steps over a long time, but was also a great leap of faith. Peter's life is not unlike ours in many ways. We claim we are unworthy; we may do brash, crazy, even stupid things. To protect ourselves we may stay on the sidelines and pretend we know less than we do. In the end, we must affirm our faith; our hope and belief that all will be well; and as a phrase from a well know TV series puts it, "boldly go where no man has gone before."

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