“Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men’.”
~Luke 5:10b (NIV).
Same story as usual here; Jesus is a few steps ahead of the others.
A sharp transition is known via the use of the large catch of fish—the awe of Peter (and possibly the other disciples) is used by Jesus to capture the attention of the disciples onto the real catch. How else are we to capture a fisherman’s attention? Jesus was nothing if not innovative.
How ironic it is that these fishermen had just seen the biggest catch of their lives and yet they leave it for a far more important catch—and that’s just it... they ‘up’ and leave!
Like so many images of life turned to biblical imagery, fishing is one that’s soaked in spiritual meaning.
Here’s just one perspective:
Those who fish will travel far to pick up a prize catch—so are we to. In our witnessing of God’s power for life we’re to always be aware of the discharge of our own behaviour as testament to onlooking world keen to see how ‘Christians’ respond to life’s challenges.
Non-Christians want to see the difference God makes.
We can only hope to be the ‘bait’ attracting non-believers to Jesus if: 1) they’re searching spiritually in the first place; and, 2) if they see something that appeals to them through us and our dealing with life.
For people to be ‘caught’ hook, line and sinker to gospel truth they need to see it operating through us. We can speak powerfully for or against the gospel (and most of all, neutrally) by pure virtue of how we interact with people and life.
What is it to be: positive, negative or neutral?
Don’t Be Afraid
One way we can ‘preach’ loudest and most persuasively, into the lives of others for Jesus, is via our harnessing of fear itself through practical faith. Peter perhaps wasn’t scared, just awed... a sort of momentary and disabling disbelief at what had just happened.
We’re to believe that God can do anything in our midst; not surprised by unexpected things. Instead we’re to be expectant of God’s glory and blessing in the play of life and understand just what God is capable of—which is anything.
Perhaps Jesus, here, wants us to be so well adjusted to the opportunities for evangelism, to speak via our acts (and especially even via our inaction e.g. to ward against gossip, for instance), that we might always be flowing with the current of life, representing the faith in a way that is generally tranquil and responsibly mature as it relates with life.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.