Fishing for People
August 12 - Nº 224 Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11
While Jesus was spending time in Cana and revisiting his hometown of Nazareth, his followers returned to their own homes. Several of them lived in or near Capernaum, which was located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee (also called the Lake of Gennesaret). After the people in his own hometown tried to kill him (see #223 - Acceptance Followed by Rejection), Jesus decided to leave Nazareth and focus his ministry in Capernaum. Capernaum was a crowded fishing village located along the via Maris. This was an important trade route that connected Damascus, a large cultural and trade center in Syria, with Caesarea Maritime (Israel’s largest port city located on the Mediterranean Sea). It continued south to Africa. Caravans stopped in Capernaum to resupply themselves with produce and dried fish on their way to Egypt. One morning, as Jesus walked along the seashore, people began to crowd around him. They were listening as he explained God’s words from the Old Testament. Peter and Andrew, two of Jesus’ early followers, were nearby washing their nets on the rocks after a long night of fishing. Jesus got into Peter’s boat and asked him to row it out a little from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. The water in front of him and the hills behind the people amplified his voice so everyone could hear. When he had finished speaking, he instructed Peter to take the boat into deeper water and let the nets down again. Peter (also called Simon—see #217 - Jesus' First Followers) protested, “But Lord, we fished all night and didn’t catch anything!” Then he must have recalled some of the miracles Jesus had performed, because he quickly added, “Still, if that’s what you want, I will let them down.” When he did, he immediately caught a large number of fish—so many that the nets began to tear. Peter yelled to his partners James and John who were in another boat to come and help. Soon their nets were so full that their boat began to sink. Peter was totally overcome by this miracle. He fell to his knees and said to Jesus, “Go away from me, Lord. I am a sinful man!” Jesus replied, “Simon, don’t be afraid. From now on, I will teach you how to catch men.” Peter and Andrew pulled their boat up on shore. They left it there with their nets and followed Jesus. James and John joined them, leaving their father in the boat with the other hired men. These four young men left everything behind to begin a new life as Jesus’ disciples. No longer were they just curious followers who wanted to learn from an amazing rabbi. They were convinced believers who wanted to commit their lives to the Messiah.
Where are you in your relationship with Jesus? Are you curious about who he really is and what he wants from you? Are you convinced that he really is the Son of God as he claimed over and over through his messages and his miracles? Or are you committed enough to leave everything behind and follow him? These are the three stages a person must go through to become a true disciple of Jesus Christ.