“Where’d this crowd come from?” said Pete.
“You know how it is Big Brother, wherever he goes the crowds follow,” said Andy.
“Crowds don’t put food in our bellies,” said Pete. “I got a wife and parents to feed. I’m beginning to question whether we need to keep hitching our wagon up to his.”
“Stop bellyaching, and help us wash these damn nets,” said Andy.
“Andy, we didn’t catch a single fish last night. I know this guy has done some amazing things. I can’t explain them, and I’ve seen him heal so many people. Hell, he even healed my own mother-in-law. But so what? I like being around him as much as the next guy, but that ain’t putting food on the table or money in our pockets.”
“I know we’re going through some tough times, but I think we need to stick with him at least a little longer,” said Andy. “Look, I’m tired and hungry just like you. I’m beat and ready to get home and take a nap. And that ain’t gonna happen anytime soon ‘less you help us wash these damn nets.” Andy turned his head and shouted over his shoulder. “John, tell this half-ass brother of mine that he needs to stop his bitching and get back to work.”
“Andy, you know I can’t tell that mule-headed brother of yours anything. He ain’t gonna listen to me; or anyone else for that matter,” shouted John back.
“Alright, alright,” said Peter, “But I’m telling all y’all I’ve about had enough. Look at him,” Peter said as he pointed at Jesus. “He could be helping us. Instead, he’s running his mouth again.” Peter grabbed two jugs so he could go down and fill them with water.
About that time, Jesus emerged from the middle of the crowd, and walked over to the two boats anchored to the shore. These were the boats that Pete and Andy, and Jimmy and John had used during the night to try and catch some fish to provision this ever-growing contingent of followers Jesus had drawn.
Jesus walked over to the boat belonging to Pete and Andy and stepped over the gunnel into the boat.
What’s that SOB gonna do now, thought Peter, go fishing?
Jesus turned and looked at Peter as though he had read Peter’s thoughts. Chills suddenly ran down Peter’s spine.
“Pete, would it be asking too much, if you’d just row me out from the bank a little bit so I can speak to these good folks. I’m scared if I don’t they’re gonna push me right into the water, and that water might not hold me up.” A slow grin appeared on Jesus’ face.
Peter stood there for a second, pissed off, but not knowing what to do, which was unusual for him. He took a deep breath, and put the jars down. “Sure, Teach. Whatever you want,” said Peter.
Jesus settled in the back of the boat while Peter sat on the middle bench manning the oars. Peter rowed just a little ways out, and then let down the anchor to hold the boat fast. Jesus climbed to the front of the boat and sat in the bow.
For the next two hours, Peter had a front row seat as Jesus spoke to the crowd. Peter found himself transfixed once again as he listened to this gifted teacher. His words were biting, yet consoling at the same time. He did not hesitate to speak words of hard truth, yet they were always tempered with compassion. His knowledge of the scriptures was phenomenal. He spoke with power and authority. Yet, he also possessed a fresh view about dealing with the problems of everyday life that astounded Peter.
Peter could see his brother Andy, along with Jimmy and John, standing on the edge of the shore. They had stopped washing their nets and were hanging onto every word Jesus said. Eventually, Jesus told the people to go home. They didn’t want to. As if to give them no choice, Jesus turned to Peter, “Pete, how ‘bout let’s go fishing?”
“Teach,” said Peter, “I’d like to, but it’s no use. Me and the boys fished all night. We didn’t catch doodley squat. The sun’s up now and it’s the heat of the day. This is the worst time of the day to fish.”
“Well, humor me, Pete. I know a little ‘bout fishing. Why don’t we pull out just a little ways into deeper water.” Jesus, sitting on the bench in the bow, clasped his hands in front of him as his elbows rested on his knees. His eyes met Peter’s, “Trust me,” said Jesus.
Peter shrugged his shoulders,“Teach, this don’t make much sense, and I don’t know why I’m doin it, but since you’ve asked me to, I will.” Peter turned around and sat with his back toward Jesus. He pointed the bow toward deeper water and began to row.
After a few minutes, Jesus said, “This looks far enough, Pete. I think this looks like a good spot. I’ll help you with the net.”
The two men grabbed the net and together threw it into the water. Almost immediately, the net began to fill with fish.
Jesus, grinning ear to ear, turned to Peter. “Hold on, my boy, we’re fixin’ to load the boat,” said Jesus.
Both men, stout as a pair of oxen, struggled to try and pull the net in. They couldn’t. The ropes were beginning to tear into the flesh of the men’s hands. Peter could hear the net beginning to rip. He had to get help. “Teach, see if you can hold it by yourself for a second, I’ve got to try and signal the others for help.”
Jesus, who had been holding on to the port line with both hands, first braced his right foot against the stern of the boat, then, while holding fast with his right hand, let go of the rope with his left and instantly grabbed the starboard line being held by Peter. He then raised his left leg and braced it also against the stern. Jesus was no longer standing erect. He was standing horizontally. The strain of his body against the ropes and the net held him in place. His body quivered, and he was covered in sweat. Peter could see the muscles and veins bulging in his neck, shoulders, arms and back.
“I got it, my brother,” said Jesus through clenched teeth. Even though Jesus was straining almost beyond the point of endurance, he was somehow smiling at the same time. “Get those other boys out here quick.”
Peter jumped to his feet and began whoopin and hollerin for help. Directly, he saw Jimmy and John jump into their boat, along with Andy. The three began rowing out to Jesus and Peter as fast as they could.
Peter went back to the starboard line and took it from Jesus. The two men held the net, bulging with fish, while the other boys rowed out to them. When Jimmy, John, and Andy got to them, Andy jumped into the boat with Jesus and Pete, while James and John worked from the other boat. The five men began unloading fish from the net into the two boats.
John, standing next to Jimmy, both knee-deep in fish, shouted, “We’re slap full. We only got about three inches of freeboard left. I’m scared we’re gonna sink.”
Peter, standing in his boat with Andy and Jesus, was also knee-deep in fish. Like John’s boat, his too was not far from sinking. But Peter wasn’t thinking about the fish or even sinking. Instead, Peter was thinking about Jesus. And it scared him. He was also thinking about his own doubt and lack of conviction; and most of all, his own petty selfishness. Suddenly, Peter was overcome with guilt and shame. With tears in his eyes, he turned to Jesus, “Teach, you don’t need to have nothin’ to do with me. I’m a low-down, no-good, lousy, son-of-a-bitch.”
At that, Jesus laughed. “Well,” he said, as he threw another fish into the boat, “we know you’re not much of a fisherman, Pete, but we’ll get over that. I tell you what, if you follow me, I’ll make you a fisher of men. What’da’ya say?”
“I don’t know what to say, Sir,” said Peter.
“Then just say, ‘yes’,” replied Jesus.
“Yes sir, I’d be honored.”
“Glad to hear that. Well, you gonna yap all day, Pete, or you gonna fish?” said Jesus.
This historical fictional account was taken from Luke 5: 1-11.