Anglers know their stuff. Where to go, when, what bait to use, choice of rod and hook. Suggest changes and you generally get a pitying look from the expert. For example, what could a carpenter teach them about fishing?
Instead of the English Channel, imagine two guys on a lake in Galilee. One has been a professional fisherman all his adult life, the other has been a builder/carpenter up until quite recently. Let’s eavesdrop on their evening conversation.
“Oh hi, shhhh… you’ll scare the fish. Stand still.”
“I have a question.”
“Really? What, now? Can’t we just catch fish for supper, Jesus? You look after that rod, if anything bites, tell me quickly. Shhhh. I want to be quiet and just fish.”
(A few minutes pass in companionable silence.)
“I still want to ask you that question.”
Grunt. Heavy exhalation of breath from Peter.
“Hey, Peter… will you try another kind of fishing? I’m starting a new kind of work- I have to save the world. If I teach you how, you could be part of what my Dad wants me to do.”
Silence. Peter looks across to check it isn’t a joke. The man looks serious, then lifts an eyebrow and smiles. And Peter said………
Put that way it sounds highly improbable! And the way the story unfolds in the Gospels sounded equally improbable. “Leave everything, and follow me.”
We could talk about this for hours, and psychoanalyse Peter, and discuss the disruption to the family business- or just take the facts as recorded in Peter’s “memoirs” and thank God this rough, tough impulsive fisherman decided to change his whole life. Three years following Jesus, shocks and revelation, a name change from Simon to Peter*, then a new career as a preacher, leader and evangelist talking about this “Good News.” Fishing cropped up a few times, too.
Jesus. Life-Giver, life-changer. He stills asks the question: “Will YOU follow me?”
“Well, when you put it like that, Jesus… YES.”
Because saying “Shhhh” to Jesus is a really bad idea.
*See Mark 1 v16-18 and Matthew 18 v18 for the original.