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New Directions for Fishing

February 14, 2019

 15th c.:Barraso
Jesus and Peter: Called from Fishing

Scripture Luke 5:1-11

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.”

When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.

Luke 5:10b-11 NRSV

Jesus came to the shore of the Sea of Galilee and came up with a new strategy to address a crowd gathered there. He hired a boat and used it as his stage to address the crowd. Having finished that, we find the real purpose Jesus had in selecting this location and these fishermen.

Now, fishing is pretty hard work and requires some talent and a good bit of pure luck. So, through the scriptures, we don’t know how much Jesus knew about fishing. But, from a quick read of these verses, Jesus seems to be familiar with the process of fishing on the Sea of Galilee and the types of people that worked the water and the boats.

Jesus held off revealing his purpose for this excursion into the fishermen’s world until the end of this particular story. From a boat rental for a preaching and teaching lesson to unprecedented fishing instructions, a whole lot goes on here! In the end, Jesus makes an extraordinary statement, even a demand, on the fishermen: Come with me! I will make you fish for people.

Now, that is a call if I ever heard one! This is a frank and bold statement to Simon, who is called Peter, and to James and John, the sons of Zebedee. From two boats and these first three disciples, we get the first recruiting class for Jesus. And, from what we know about these persons and the other nine that join them, nobody made the A-list before this “draft.” In fact, Jesus did little to evaluate them, as far as we know.

This is one of the great lessons here and throughout the Gospel story: Ordinary people are called by Jesus in the middle of their ordinary lives. But, because of God’s power in Jesus extra-ordinary things begin to happen. Jesus was the one in charge that day on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. So, much went on that was directed by him: renting a boat to approach a large crowd on the shore; a meeting on the water with lifelong, serious fishermen; recommending the the ultimate fishing spot; and, the overpowering abundance that came from God. That miraculous event proved the better of these men, their boats, their nets, their strength, their skill, their faith, and their willingness to hear God’s call.

Jesus continues to call. But, we continue to listen casually, almost ignoring what God says to us. Will you and I follow God through this call: the wonder and awe that is part of our journey with God through Jesus Christ, our Risen Lord? Do you and I include God in the middle of our living, our decisions which will affect our faith journey into new directions?

Are you and I responding to the call of Christ, our Living Lord?

Stan Reid


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