When Peter (sometimes called Simon) first begins his ministry work with Jesus, it’s in a fishing boat (Luke 5:1-11). After speaking to some crowds from Peter’s boat, Jesus commands him to take the boat to deeper waters, and there challenges him to cast his nets for fish. Having tried all and caught nothing, Peter is skeptical at first. But he receives the challenge and casts his net. He and his partners hauled in so many fish that the boat began to sink! Jesus had performed a miracle. It stunned Peter, James and John. Peter’s response sums up their shock well. “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” Of course, Jesus ignores that command, and tells Peter to follow him, and that he will become a fisher of men. Peter obeys.
Whenever we receive a challenge from God, we may at first be doubtful, but if we follow through with it, we will find the miraculous — perhaps in shocking ways — and we will be entered into new fields of work. After that miracle, Peter left his fishing job and followed Jesus. It changed the world forever. It is fair to say that there is not a major aspect of your life — regardless of whether or not you are a Christian — that has not been impacted in some way by Peter’s obedience to the direction of Jesus.
Later, after Jesus has been crucified, buried and resurrected, he appears to Peter again (John 21:1-14). And again Peter is in a boat with other disciples. But this time Jesus is on shore. And once again, Peter works all night to catch fish, but fails. They don’t recognize Jesus early the next morning as he calls from the shore, “Friends, have you any fish?” When they answer, “no,” he challenges them to cast it on the right side of the boat. They try this, and the load of fish is so heavy they are unable to haul it in! At that moment, Jesus is recognized, and Peter jumps in the water fully clothed and swims to shore. Jesus reminded Peter and his fellow disciples of the truth that they are to continue with their duties to him by hearkening back to the original miracle. In an interesting metaphor that points to our status in Heaven, they dine with Jesus on the shore, away from their work, with a meal that he has prepared for them! When we accept the challenges of Jesus, then we begin to serve him as our master, and he serves us as his family. Those challenges also grow us. Later in the text, Jesus gives Peter an even greater duty – to disciple his followers (John 21:15-17). Peter will become a teacher himself!
What challenges has God extended to you, and how are you meeting them?