“The Miraculous Catch”
What’s the key to the story of the ’miraculous catch of fish’ ? It’s simply this: where human effort alone often brings failure and emptiness, obedience to God’s word brings success and abundance.
The miracle story is also a vocation story. In other words, fishermen by occupation are led to see that there’s more to life than catching fish – even loads of fish!
The story begins with Jesus asking his friends Peter and Andrew to launch into the deep, and to pay out their nets for a catch. It’s morning when he asks this, and Peter and Andrew can’t help thinking: what on earth does this farmer boy know about deep sea fishing? You trawl your nets at night, in the dark, not in broad daylight. We’ve done it all last night, and to no use. Anyway, this Jesus is a good chap, so we’ll humour him a bit…
And so abundant is the catch, that their nets were strained to breaking point, and they had to holler to their friends in a neighbouring boat, to come quickly and help them!
That’s when Peter realizes that there’s something deeper going on here. As a fisherman, he knows the ways of the lake, but there’s someone more powerful here who controls the sea and all that’s in it. Seized with nervousness and humility, Peter cries out: “Depart from me, Lord, I’m a sinful man!” – I’m not worthy to be so blessed!
“Do not fear!” says Jesus. Be at peace. Your life has just begun to change. From now on you will attract men, not just fish. The vocation of Peter is told in a way that symbolizes his success in bringing great numbers of pagans into the Messianic community.
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