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ENCOUNTERS WITH JESUS

PETER, THE FISHERMAN

From the beginning of his public ministry Jesus generated amazement. It was quickly obvious that he was no ordinary man.

What ordinary man is addressed by a voice from heaven 'You are my Son, whom I love'?

What ordinary man can claim that he fulfils the Scriptures?

What ordinary man evokes from evil spirits the response 'You are the Holy One of God' and 'You are the Son of God!'?

What ordinary man teaches the truth of God with absolute authority?

The question on everyone lips was 'Who is this man?'

There were only four potential possibilities:

When did this final incredible possibility begin to dawn on his hearers? Was it, perhaps, on the day of the big catch?

The experienced fisherman, Simon Peter, and his partners, had fished all night and caught nothing. There were no fish there. Jesus, after using Peter's boat as a speaking platform, told Peter to go back to the deep water and put down his nets. Out of respect for Jesus, Peter did. The resulting catch filled two boats.

Peter's response reveals that at this point he began to understand who Jesus really is: 'He fell at Jesus' knees and said, 'Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!'

Like Isaiah's overwhelmed response in the presence of the Lord centuries earlier, this is the response of a man overwhelmed with fear in the presence of God. Peter is stricken with the fearful possibility that this ordinary man standing in this ordinary boat, on this ordinary day in human time, is actually the Almighty, the eternal Lord, on whom all life depends, and to whom all are accountable.

This same question 'Who is this man?' confronts each one of us, demanding our answer, deciding our eternal destiny.

Scriptures: Luke 3:22; 4:21,34,41; 5:1-11; Isaiah 6:5.

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2004,2008