When Jesus was asked to show God to us, He replied by saying, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (Jn. 14:9).
Christ revealed God in many ways, but I’m thinking specifically about Him meeting Peter at the docks as he returned from fishing all night. He had been skunked, a fact no fisherman likes to acknowledge. But it was true. Not a fish all night.
There is a “tired” from working all night and accomplishing your goal. And, there is a “tired” from simply working all night.
Pete was beat. The thing he knew best, and loved more than anything, his job and hobby all rolled into one, hadn’t been much fun. There wasn’t any glory to be shared or fish to clean, only nets to be washed.
Jesus could have said, “Come on Rock, I’ll buy you breakfast.” He could have offered encouragement: “Fishing is like that. You’ll have better luck next time.” He might have commiserated with him, “What were you using? Was anyone else catching anything? Doggone! I can’t believe that. All night and not a fish? Jeepers.”
Each of the above options would have been typical of a friend. Each would have expressed interest and shown compassion. But, none would put fish in the hold and all would dodge the real issues churning within Peter’s heart: I didn’t catch a single fish. Am I losing my touch or what? I got skunked. Not only was it no fun, but now I have to eat fruit for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and breakfast.
In His inimitable way, Jesus seized the moment and met Peter where he was in his heart: frustrated with fishing. “Let’s go out in the deep water and drop the nets. No telling what we might catch.”
Peter’s response is the telltale sign that Jesus hit the mark. He let Jesus know that they had fished all night with no luck, ...but since He wanted to go out, they would. And the rest is history. It took two boats to haul all the fish to shore, and they were lucky to get there without sinking.
Even though this episode occurred right after Jesus delivered a sermon from the bow of Peter’s boat, He didn’t meet Peter during the sermon, even though Peter may have benefited from the message. He met him on his turf, in a manner he could relate to, in a place where he felt comfortable: Fishing. In this way, Jesus showed Peter something about God.
And Peter’s response? He left all to follow this man who met him man-to-man, heart-to-heart.
Next: How far will God go to demonstrate His heart?