I’m just a fisherman. It’s what I grew up with and it’s all I know, fishing. I know about boats, nets, the water, and catching fish. My father taught me and he learned it all from his father. That’s the way things are done.
The other day this rabbi, Jesus from Nazareth, came to my house after the services at the meeting place. My wife’s mother wasn’t feeling too well. Actually, she was running a high fever and we were awfully worried. I asked him if he wouldn’t visit her thinking it might help her.
He went over to where she was resting and stood over her. He just spoke the word and the fever left her. Before we knew it she was up and about fixing dinner for all of us.
After the meal, after the sun had gone down, people began showing up at the door looking for Jesus. Everyone had someone with them who was suffering from one thing or another and they wanted him to heal them. And he did! One after another they came up and he put his hands on them and they were cured, healed. Demons left people. There was so much noise and Jesus spoke with such authority that even the demons shut up.
The next day he left and the crowds followed after him. I’ve never seen anything like this before. Never have I seen people so enthralled with the words of any rabbi, let alone one from Nazareth. He tried to gently let them know that he had other villages to visit and teach at, to tell the Message of God’s kingdom. He travelled all over Galilee preaching in their meeting places.
I kept fishing because that’s what I had to do to feed my family. The other day I had been out on the lake all night fishing with my father and James and John, the sons of Zebedee. We were just about to shore when this rabbi, Jesus waded out to my boat and climbed in. He asked me to push out a ways so he could preach to the people without getting trampled.
He taught for quite a while and then he asked us to push our boats out into the deep water and throw our nets in for a catch. We’d been fishing all night and hadn’t caught even one minnow and he was telling us to try it again! A carpenter was trying to tell us how to catch fish.
I pushed out, partly because he had healed my mother-in-law, and, well to be honest, he spoke with authority. How could I argue with him? We threw our nets out.
They had just sunk down when there was all this splashing and commotion. I couldn’t believe it. The nets were so full we could hardly get them pulled in. I hollered at James and John to come and help. We almost swamped both boats with the catch of fish.
I knew right then there was more to this man, Jesus, than I thought. Not only could he cure and heal the sick and the possessed but he knew exactly where to let down the nets so we could catch fish. There was no doubt in my mind that he was someone special. And I knew that I wasn’t and I didn’t think I should be too close to him.
There was something about him that was holy. Oh, he didn’t glow or anything like that but there was just something we could all feel.
And then he said, “There isn’t anything to be afraid of. From now on you’re going to learn from me how to fish for men and women.”
We beached the boats and left them with Zebedee. And we followed him. Our lives haven’t been the same since.
I never know where he’s headed, but I can’t keep myself from following him. James, John, and I will go wherever he goes for as long as he’ll have us. He has so much to teach us.
Friends, when you hear him speak and he tells you to push out into the deep water, don’t ask any questions. Just do it. It’ll change you whole life. When you do you will be able to leave everything behind and follow him. You will learn how to fish for men and women. You will learn how to tell the Message of God’s kingdom here on earth.
I’m glad I stayed in the boat to hear him teach. He’s changed my life and he can change yours. Listen to him. Follow him.