The next morning, some people from the town where Jesus had stayed the night urgently needed to know where he was. When they came upon the place where he had sought his leisure, they tried to persuade him not to leave. But he said, “The Kingdom of God will not wait any longer. I must confer it not only upon this town, but the next, and the next. For the news is that good and holds so much for those who would receive it. I must go with the momentum of the Kingdom, carrying out the Father’s purposes here and beyond.” True to his word, he kept on moving to every place of worship with the same focus.
There came a day when Jesus was standing by the shore of Lake Gennesaret. He stood with his back to the lake. People crowded the hillside, craning from every vantage point to hear him speak–such was the God-authority of his message. As he spoke he noticed two boats resting on their hulls, water lapping against them. They had been hauled ashore by the fishermen who now stood within earshot, washing their nets. Then Jesus had an idea, so he stepped into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon. He asked Simon to push the boat out and anchor a little way offshore. After Simon had waded in from his task, Jesus sat and taught from the boat. Now everyone could see him clearly and hear his masterful words.
When Jesus had finished speaking to the crowd he addressed Simon again, “Let’s go out into the deep water and let down those clean nets. The catch will not wait for us–we must go now!”
Simon replied, “We’ve just finished a long night on the lake and you can see how poor the fishing was. But because you have given the word, Master, I want to see what these nets might bring up.”
So they readied themselves, set out for deep water and let the nets down. Sure enough, when they began to pull in the nets, they found them teeming with fish. The catch was so large the nets were almost at breaking point. After some frantic signals and excited shouting, their co-workers arrived in the other boat to help them with the haul. Soon both boats were sitting dangerously low in the water because of the sheer amount of fish in their holds.
When Simon (who would be called Peter) was finally able to collect himself, he looked at the hold stacked full of fish and then at Jesus who sat before him. Simon sank to his knees, and clasping Jesus he pleaded with him, “You must go from me, my Lord! This is too much for me to take in–I’m only a man, and as empty as an unclean net!” Simon spoke for all his accompanying crew, who were overwhelmed at the catch of fish they had just landed. Simon’s business partners, James and John, whose father was Zebedee, were also lost for words.
Then Jesus addressed Simon again, “Settle your fears! The catch that is fast approaching is made up of the lives of countless men, women and children. Be in on that haul! For it is of far more weight and abundance and value than what you see before your own eyes!” Moved by this sign of the Kingdom, the fishing party came ashore and dealt with the catch. They quickly got their affairs in order and headed in the direction Jesus was going, anticipation in their every step.
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