The men fished all night without success. This fishing mattered because it put bread on the table. Their work included casting cumbersome nets and moving their boats by hoisting sails, straining at oars, and praying that the wind would put them near a school of fish.
Throughout the night, they cast bulky nets onto the inky surface of the lake. Each cast had brought the same disappointing results after they drew the nets toward the boat. Empty. Empty. Empty. Their nightshift ended without profit – or so they thought.
Dawn found them anchored on shore. Weary. Fatigued. Hungry. Wet. They were ready to wash their nets, search for tears, and untangle the snarls from lake debris.
At lakeside that morning, Jesus had drawn a crowd to hear his teachings. Finally, Jesus suggested that Simon Peter launch his boat into the foamy surf as a pulpit.
Peter moved the boat just offshore where Jesus sat down and continued teaching from a watery platform. When Jesus finished he said, “Put out into the deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
Peter answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” On the lake, after letting down the nets, Peter felt the familiar drag of a catch, a huge catch. Checking the heavy mesh, he saw it teemed with fish and the weight of them caused tears in the sturdy rope lacings.
He motioned to partners on shore to join them, and James and John oared out and hauled in fish after fish. The weight of the fish soon leveled the boat railings with the water surface. One more fish wiggle and water could have spilled into the crafts causing them to sink.
However, the miracles continued and they made shore without losing sailors, boats, or fish. The fishermen, the scaly catch, and The Teacher came ashore. That’s when Simon Peter recognized God’s divine hand and fell at Jesus’ feet saying, “Go away from me, Lord, I am a sinful man!”
Jesus didn’t leave.
Instead, Jesus consoled Simon Peter and said, “Don’t be afraid, from now on you will catch men. Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Luke 5).
On this day, God provided for these men and their families. He was about to call them on a monumental mission, and their families would be taken care of through the huge haul of fish. On this day, the lakeside became a cathedral when Peter fell down to worship Master of Earth and Sea.
As had happened before, God used the earth, his footstool, as a platform for the Son of God. Concern, care, and compassion showed in the abundant catch of fish.
Chapels, cathedrals, and church buildings are formal places of worship where body and mind can be still and quiet. Places of worship where God is present as the audience as his people adore him through worship.
God dwells in the everyday happenings, too. In addition, where you walk, play, and work can become places of worship.
On this day, nets, boats, and fish became props to display Jesus as the son of God. Thirty years earlier, a stable, shepherds, and sheep had been stage props for the Savior. Today, as in times past, a car, a rented room, or a mall can be a cathedral if Jesus is there.
During Advent, watch for the arrival of Jesus into your ordinary days.
Hunger for Humility (Week 48): “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20).