Sunday Readings: Isaiah 6.1-8; 1 Corinthians 15.1-11; Luke 5.1-11
Simon and all who were with him were absolutely amazed at all the fish they had caught and so were his partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid. From now on you will be catching people instead of fish.” Peter, James, and John pulled their boats up on the beach, left everything and followed Jesus (Luke 5.9-11).
Jesus steps into a fishing boat to teach people crowding to listen along the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Then he encourages Peter to put out his nets again despite a fruitless night. The poor night fishing and the miraculous day catch suggest in contrasting images the history of the first-century Church, in which great numbers of Gentile believers and not as many Jews joined the communities of Jesus’ followers. Two boats overflow with believers in Luke’s story. As Luke writes in the middle of the A.D. 80s, communities of faith in the crucified and risen Jesus have spread throughout the Mediterranean world.
The incredible catch moves Peter to humility. The divine action scares him. He falls on his knees and urges Jesus to go away from him. “I am a sinful man,” he confesses, acknowledging God’s holy presence in these actions. Perhaps he fears being asked too much. Perhaps in Peter Luke is conveying the fear of the friends of God for whom he writes. God’s inbreaking presence in Jesus makes profound claims on the whole hearts of believers. Jesus commissions Peter in this humbled state, “From now on, you will be catching people.”
What claim on your heart has Jesus made through hearing his word in the gospels?