Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Experts hate to be shown that they are wrong. Really. Take it from me, since I’m an expert, and I think I’m right about it. We hate to be shown that we are wrong. In our Gospel passage from Luke 5 Simon Peter is the expert. He’s a prosperous fisherman, with a well established business. He knows fish and fishing. And he knows that, at least on this day, the fishing is really bad. They worked all night and it was a failure. No fish to sell today. Perhaps that’s why he was willing to let Jesus stand in the boat and use the lake water to help boost his voice and teach the people. He might as well get some use out of that boat.
We don’t know specifically what Jesus was teaching in verses three and four. The Bible doesn’t give us any clue at all. Apparently the content of Jesus’ teaching is not the important element in this passage. What does Luke want us to know? He wants us to know that Jesus showed himself in his power to Peter, James, and John, as well as to some other onlookers. He told them, the experts, to get their nets wet again, even though they had finished a long and frustrating night’s work and had finally managed to get everything in order again.
Simon Peter, the expert fisherman, knew it wouldn’t be worth doing. But he eventually agreed. All the while, he knew he was right. They weren’t going to catch anything. It’s a waste of time and effort.
How many times are we convinced that whatever we do will be a waste of time and effort? After all, we’re the experts! We know what we are doing. We have our priorities. We know the rhythm of our work. Yet sometimes, by his grace, the Lord puts us in a situation where we go against our instincts. Surely it’s worthless to go here, there’s no point in making that phone call, a visit to her will be useless. Suddenly, in the Gospel, the Lord provides a great catch of fish. And in our lives? He may take what seemed meaningless and promised no fruit and use it for the good of His kingdom. We never know what the Lord will accomplish.
We hate being wrong. What does Simon Peter realize when he is shown to be wrong? He confesses to the Lord that he is a sinful person. He contradicted God.
Here’s the good news. Jesus restores Simon Peter. He takes the sinful man who would argue with God about fishing, and he uses him to gather people into the kingdom of God. The Lord knows exactly what he is doing. And he does it for the good, not only of his disciples, but for the good of the whole world. Thanks be to God.
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