“That it may be well with us, when we obey the voice of the LORD our God” – Jeremiah 42:6
When Jesus told Simon Peter, James and John, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men,” they must have trusted Him enough to leave everything behind and follow Him. They had seen with their own eyes what miraculous things He could. All night the three men had been fishing and had caught nothing yet when they cast down their nets as Jesus bid them, they caught so much fish that the net holding them was breaking. The two boats began to sink under the weight of the fish. How was it possible that the same lake where the men hadn’t caught any fish a moment ago and the minute Jesus told them to cast their nets in, they were bursting with fish? Jesus had done the impossible. When, the men saw this, they were astonished. They probably never caught so much fish in all the years they had been fishing and here Jesus had done it in such a short time. Possibly ashamed of his reluctance earlier, Peter fell to his knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”
Jesus told Simon Peter not to be afraid and that from now on, he would catch men. Simon Peter’s days as a fisherman were over and he was now a follower of Jesus who had great plans for him and the others. Just imagine how differently things would have turned out if Peter hadn’t decided to literally drop everything and follow Jesus. He could not have imagined in all his wildest dreams what miraculous things he would be a witness to or that he would be preaching the same gospel he heard Jesus preach to the people from Peter’s boat or that he would be walking on water or that he too would be healing people. None of these men could ever have imagined that their lives would change so dramatically because they had put their trust and faith in Jesus. Just like these men, we should leave our worries behind and follow Him. Catching the fish that had seemed nonexistent a short while ago was Jesus’ way of showing the three men what is impossible for man is not impossible for Him. And that He could help them to catch bigger and better things if they just allow themselves to trust Him.
When we follow Jesus we are in for a treat. As He pointed out, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” Peter and the other apostles believed that casting the net in the lake was hopeless because they had been trying all night to catch fish. Fishing was their livelihood when they weren’t catching any it must have been very frustrating for them. Then, Jesus came along told them to cast the net in and when they did there was an abundance of fish. He wanted to show them what would happen if one doesn’t give up every time things don’t go well or as expected. Jesus wanted to demonstrate through these men that He could penetrate the murky waters of our limited imagination and bring forth treasures that are possible only when we have faith in Him.
Jesus is the Light and when we trust in Him, we will no longer be in the dark about who He is and what He is capable of. “I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, And crooked places straight.” (Isaiah 42:16) Jesus led Peter and the other disciples out of spiritual blindness into spiritual awareness. On that fateful day on the lake, He opened their eyes to His magnificence. He took them on a journey that forever changed their lives. They went from reeling in fish to reeling in people. Jesus taught them everything they needed to know and after His resurrection, He sent them into the world to finish His work. “All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Just as He had promised, He was always with them, in person when He was here on earth and in spirit after He had returned to His Father in Heaven. He is with us in spirit and when He calls us to do His work, He is right there alongside us, giving us guidance and all the tools we need to accomplish the task. He left behind the Holy Spirit who would guide them into all truth; speak only what He hears and tell them what was to come. In Acts 2, the disciples were gathered in one place on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit filled them and they began to speak in other tongues. The Holy Spirit enabled them. Peter addressed the non-believers, reminding them of Jesus and the miracles He performed before them, His crucifixion, and His resurrection. He called them to repent and be baptized. That day, about three thousand people accepted Christ and were baptized. A fellowship of the believers was started; they broke bread, gave to those in need, and praised God who increased the number of people saved. Jesus was with His disciples throughout their ministry, helping them, as they became fishers of men.
When we obey God we are blessed and through our obedience other people are blessed. The apostles obeyed Jesus and they were blessed with His teachings, His love and with the Holy Spirit. They were blessed with the task of spreading the gospel and as a result, others were blessed because they came to know Jesus. When Moses obeyed God’s call to free the Israelites from Egypt, he had no way of knowing that he would be remembered as one of the greatest prophets of all time. When Abraham obeyed God and went to a strange land, he had no way of knowing that he would be the father of many nations or that one of his descendants would be one of Israel’s greatest kings or that one of them would be the Messiah. When Peter and the other fishermen followed Jesus they had no way of knowing that they would be witnesses of miracles or doers of miraculous signs.