On a normal night probably like many others, two sets of brothers set out to go fishing. This was their trade— how they made money to buy food to survive. When they got tired of eating fish that is. After getting into their boats on the Lake Gennesaret they pushed out and rowed to the spot they were going to drop the net.

After dropping it and leaving it in for a while, hoping that many fish would swim into it, they yanked it up fast, like they always did, to  find NOTHING. Not even one stinkin’ fish. This continued all night. They couldn’t figure out why. They were professional fisherman. All their favorite spots and all their best tricks came up empty.

Frustrated and tired, they called it a night and headed into shore, just as day was breaking. They began the usual clean up routine, sullen and muttering under their breath about not catching a single fish. As they were cleaning the nets, a man named Jesus came by with a large crowd pressing in around him. Now Simon, one of the fishing brothers, knew who he was. Although this Jesus was just the son of a carpenter from a podunk town named Nazareth, he had healed his mother-in-law from a high fever one day after teaching in the synagogue. Not only that, but many more people with diseases had shown up at Simon’s house to be healed by this man and every one of them was. Even demons came screeching out of those who were possessed. He was no ordinary carpenter, Simon was sure of that.

The large crowd was getting desperate and Jesus needed some place to go lest he get trampled by them. He asked if he could stand in Simon’s boat in order to have a little breathing room. Not seeing a good reason to decline, Simon agreed and pushed Jesus out a little ways into the water. Sitting down, he taught the crowd from the boat.

Once he was finished, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let your nets down for a catch.” Unable to help himself since his empty-handed-anger was still simmering under the surface, Simon responded, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” Simon, who was also called Peter, knew that Jesus was someone who God listened to. He had seen him heal people and cast out demons.

I should listen to him since he must be a prophet or something. But does this guy really think I don’t know how to fish? I mean come on, I tried ALL night. The fish just aren’t here. Peter thought to himself.

Although somewhat reluctant, Peter scooped up his freshly cleaned nets and rowed out to the deep. As soon as he began to let the nets down over the side, the fish started jumping into them. Some were even hopping straight into the boat. It was insane! There were so many fish that the nets started to break. Frantically signaling for the other brothers to hurry up and bring their boat, Simon and his brother Andrew started heaving armfuls of the slippery things into the boat.

Quickly arriving in their boat, the other brothers, James and John, did the same and soon, both boats began to slowly sink since they were so stuffed with fish! When Simon saw this, a thought suddenly stunned him.

Only God Almighty could do this!

Immediately, falling to his knees before Jesus, he begged, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” The guilt of his sinful doubts that he had just thought minutes before stung his conscience, and he wanted to hide from this Holy One.

“Do not be afraid,” Jesus assured him, “from now on you will be catching men.” And after they had brought their boats to the shore, they left all the stinkin’ fish behind, and followed him.

 

This is a partly fictional retelling of a true story found in Luke 5:1-11.