Summary: Jesus calls the first disciples, preaches to the crowds then performs a miracle.
God our Father whose word has come among us, may the light of faith kindled in our hearts shine in our words and deeds, through him, who is Christ the Lord, who is alive and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen
Fishing was both an important and common way of earning a living. Here we find Jesus as he is about to call Simon (Peter), Andrew, James and John from tending their nets and catching fish to becoming a disciple and then later an Apostle, into his service, they were to be fishers of men. Here we can see Jesus as he stands at the side of Lake Gennesaret or to use it’s other names the Sea of Galilee, Lake Kinnerett or Sea of Tiberius. It is a 13 miles long and 8 miles wide stretch of fresh water that has a 33 mile circumference and is situated 680 feet below sea level in a natural dip in the ground and is 141 feet at its deepest point. The way that it is situated gives it a tropical climate. When Jesus had last preached he was in the synagogue and now here he was at the lake side. People were beginning to know who Jesus was and the numbers of people following him had grown by the say because they had heard of his teachings and now that he was in the area they wanted to come and hear him first hand. You can imagine the picture there were hundreds of people getting closer and closer to him. They were crowding in on him, pushing and shoving. As we look a little way along the water’s edge there are boats hauled up onto the shore. A little further still we can see several men, who had dragged their nets up the beach and had spread them out to dry. They had been out fishing all night and were quite weary. On one side of the shore we have the hustle and bustle of a crowd yet just a little further away we see this pastoral scene.
Jesus asked Peter to put his boat out onto the water once more. This was to be his pulpit, a place where he could be seen by all of those who were crowding nearer and nearer to hear him. It made an ideal amphitheatre and his voice would carry across the water. The people were shouting to him, wanting to hear more about his teachings. There was an air of expectancy as this wonderful man, who they had heard so much about, was now right there in front of them about to speak, so close that they could touch him, and they were determined not to be disappointed, after all they had wanted to hear him for quite some time. The fishermen pushed the boat out onto the water and a little way from the shore Jesus began to speak to the people and to teach them. When he had finished sharing his words with the people on the shore he instructed the disciples to let down their nets into the water. The nets were bell shaped with lead weights around the edge. They threw the net into the water and the weights took it down into the deep where it caught the fish as it sank. When it had reached the bottom the fisherman drew in the cord, which tightened the net around the fish. But this catch was no ordinary catch, the nets were filled to breaking point they could hardly handle the fish they had caught. It was a great miracle and Peter recognised this. Peter was overwhelmed by the catch and realised that it was a miracle. It made him recognise his own inadequacies, his own faults and shortcomings. It also made him realise that he was a sinner in the sight of God and very much inferior. It is difficult to stand in the presence of God because we feel so imperfect and unworthy. But as we approach God I believe that there are three things we must always bear in mind.
We must recognise our own sinfulness.
To sin means to miss the mark it is mentioned in the bible hundreds of times. The mark, in this case, is the standard of perfection established by God and evidenced by Jesus. When we view it in that light, it is clear that we are all sinners. In Romans 3:23: "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Sin began way back with Adam and Eve when they ate from the tree of knowledge. Temptation was put in their way and they were too weak to resist. So before we point out the speck in our brother’s eye we first have to remove the plank from our own. People seem to be very good at finding fault in others, yet failing to see their own faults and shortcomings. Every day we all fall short of what is expected of us as Christians. I do it and I am sure you do too. I can also tell you this that someone who is not a disciple of Christ will be very quick to point out the sins and failings of us who are his followers. Words like I thought you were a Christian – you are not meant to do that, all too ready to jump on those they perceive as true believers for the slightest transgression.