running away or towards?

fishboatSomething dawned on me. A lightbulb lit. The mental microwave went ‘ping’.

In the gospels there are two accounts of failed fishing trips on Galilee. The first is at the start of Jesus’ ministry (Luke 5:1-11) and the second is right at the end (John 21:1-13).

In the first one Jesus had been using a fishing boat belonging to Simon (later called Peter) as a pulpit. At the end of the day he suggested that they go fishing. Simon (later called Peter) said that they’d been out all night the previous night and caught nothing, but since it was Jesus…

And they caught more fish than they could cope with!

In the second one Peter (previously called Simon) had gone fishing with some of the other disciples. This was after Jesus’ death and resurrection. They had been out all night and had caught nothing. (You have to question whether Simon/Peter had been in the right profession!) A stranger on the shore suggested that they try fishing on the other side of the boat…

And they caught more fish than they could cope with!

At the realisation of what had happened in the first incident Simon (later called Peter) said to Jesus, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”

At the realisation in the second incident that it was Jesus Peter (previously called Simon) leapt overboard and swam to the shore to be with Jesus.

What made such a difference? Was it having spent three years travelling around with Jesus; seeing him in action; listening to his teaching? Was it having witnessed his arrest, having failed to stand with him, having denied knowing him, having seen him crucified and dead, having met him alive and resurrected?

Did Peter no longer consider himself a sinful man? Actually I think he was more acutely aware of his failure the second time than the first. The difference was that he was drawn to the one who could deal with that rather than repelled from one he thought would condemn him.

Do you want to run away and hide, or do you want breakfast on the beach?

Be blessed, be a blessing

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