I want to sail out onto the Sea of Galilee in Simon Peter’s boat, and see for myself how it all began. (Luke 5:1-11)
He had fished all night but had caught not one. So much work, and nothing to show for it.
What were Simon Peter’s thoughts, out on the water that night? Was he feeling like his life was going nowhere?
‘Is there anything more to life than fish?’
The long-awaited Savior of the World was about to step into Simon’s boat, that very same day. Great voyages can have humble beginnings.
“Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch,” (Luke 5:4) Jesus instructed Simon.
“Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets,” (Luke 5:5) Peter replied.
Here we have the essence of faith, which says, ‘Jesus, I don’t see how it’s going to work, but because you say so…’ And because Simon Peter acted in faith, the nets filled with fish so that they began to break.
There is something more to life than fish! There is faith, and a calling.
“Do not be afraid,” Jesus reassured Peter, “from now on you will catch men.” (Luke 5:10)
Now we musn’t for a moment think that as soon as Jesus stepped into Peter’s life everything made sense and all was smooth sailing.
Moments after the miraculous catch, Peter begged Jesus to leave him (Luke 5:8). Peter made mistakes. He tried to take the helm (Matthew 16:21-23), he spoke when he was supposed to listen (Matthew 17:1-6), and he even denied ever knowing his dear friend and Savior – three times (Matthew 26:69-75)!
There were storms (Matthew 8:23-27).
In many ways, life with Jesus in the boat would be ‘more of the same’ for Peter: not fully understanding, but called to follow along anyway (John 13:7). Yet in faith and by faith he persevered, even when the teachings grew hard (John 6:53) and the followers few (John 6:64-66).
In faith, Peter walked on water with Jesus, on that very same Sea of Galilee (Matthew 14:25-29)! He confessed Jesus as the Christ (Matthew 16:16). By the power of The Holy Spirit, Peter helped to build The Church: he spoke the good news of God’s grace in a foreign language without ever learning that tongue (Acts 2:4); he spoke boldly about Jesus before crowds (Acts 2:14-41) and before religious leaders (Acts 4:5-20). He even healed a man in Jesus’ name (Acts 3:1-10). Peter had visions, and went to places he never dreamed he would go, to meet people he never expected to meet (Acts 10).
A great voyage indeed! And it all started the moment Jesus stepped into Peter’s boat, and Peter sailed out in faith.
What does that mean for you and me?