How many of you have ever been fishing?
Well, whether you’ve been fishing or not, I’ve got some great fishing jokes for you. Are you ready?
– How do shellfish get to the hospital? (In a clambulance!)
– Why are fish so smart? (Because they swim in schools!)
– What’s the richest fish in the world? (A goldfish)
– What do fish use for money? (sand dollars)
– If a fish lived on land, what country would it live in? (Finland)
– Why didn’t the prawn share his toys? (He was a little shellfish)
– Why is a fish easy to weigh? (it has its own scales)
Peter and Andrew
All jokes aside, today we’re going to talk about some brothers who loved to fish.
Peter and Andrew fished every single day, and I can only imagine they had fish for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! They probably talked about fish all day long. In fact, they loved fishing so much that they decided to make a business out of it.
So one day I imagine something like this happened:
Peter and Andrew walked outside and happened to see two of their other brothers, James and John. “Hey, we should start a fishing company!” Peter said. “Yeah, let’s do it,” James replied. Soon, their fishing company was born.
Their fishing company was so successful that they were able to hire employees to go out and fish for them. They had several boats, quite a few nets, and lots of customers…life was going OK for them.
So, wouldn’t you think someone who was as successful at fishing as these guys were would know a LOT about the business?
Well, Peter and Andrew were about to meet a man who hadn’t fished before, but he knew a whole lot more about the business than they did.
This story comes from Luke 5.
So, Peter, Andrew, James and John usually went out fishing at night. I know, that seems a little strange, but they had to go out fishing at night in order to catch the best fish. Does anyone know why?
How many of you have ever thrown diving sticks into a pool? If you have, you know that it’s way easier to catch the diving sticks when they’re thrown in the shallow end than it is in the deep end, right? Well, it was kind of similar with fishing!
There was a shallow end and a deep end of Lake Capernaum, the lake where the brothers went fishing. And the fish, well, they only went into the shallow end at night, when they thought nobody could see them. Then, in the daytime, they’d swim over to the deep end where it was harder for the fishermen to catch them.
Peter and Andrew were smart fishermen. They had caught on to the way the fish moved, and they decided that instead of going out in the daylight and working extra hard to catch the fish in the deep end, they would just wait until nighttime. Then, they’d go out on their boat, lower their nets, and catch fish much more easily!
One day, the brothers were out on the town, when they heard that a really famous speaker was coming to visit. This guy was all the rage, and whenever people found out he was coming to visit, they would flock to go see him. It would kind of be like if Beyonce was coming to your town for a concert—everyone would be trying to get tickets! Everyone wanted a “ticket” to see Jesus speak. He was famous in that part of the world.
The brothers decided they were going to go see Jesus speak. So as they gathered around the lake, they were surprised when the speaker came up and started talking to them. “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch,” he told Peter.
Now, I’m pretty sure Peter thought this guy was a little crazy. First of all, it wasn’t like Jesus was making a suggestion. Jesus was commanding him! Jesus, the guy who hadn’t really ever gone fishing before and didn’t know the business, was telling Peter how to fish! Not only that, this guy… He didn’t even say to try to catch a fish. He said they absolutely would catch fish! He wasn’t just commanding them; he was making, what seemed to be, a crazy PROMISE to them.
That’d be like your little brother coming up to you and saying, “Jump off the roof of the house and I PROMISE you’ll fly.”
Or, “Take your glasses off and I PROMISE you’ll have x-ray vision.”
Seems a little crazy, doesn’t it?
Well, Peter thought so too. Can anyone guess what he might have said?
Well. The Bible doesn’t tell us about what his tone was, but we can guess from his words that Peter was pretty agitated when he replied. I mean, this guy had just tried to come in and tell him how to do his business! It would be kind of like if you walked out onto the basketball court and told LeBron James how to shoot a layup… Or if you told Walt Disney how to draw a mouse!
Peter said to Jesus, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but because you told me to, I’ll let down the nets.”
Let’s think about how Peter must feel… He just told Jesus they worked all night and caught nothing. What kind of mood do you think Peter is in?
Peter’s probably really, really, really tired. And he’s probably really, really, really rejected. He spent all night trying to catch a fish, and he didn’t do anything! Have you ever tried really hard at something, but you just couldn’t make it work no matter what you did?
I know I have! (Teacher gives personal example here, if applicable)
But even though Peter is tired, and even though Peter probably feels like a failure, he’s willing to listen to Jesus. Why? Because Jesus has a reputation. Jesus is known as a master, and Peter is willing to listen to him, even when he thinks he’s wrong.
Go back to that basketball court with LeBron James… Can you imagine if LeBron James actually listened to you try to tell him how to shoot a layup, and then actually changed what he was doing to follow your lead? Or what if Walt Disney stopped drawing Mickey the way he always had, and instead, he listened to you?
That would be crazy, wouldn’t it? But, that’s what Peter did.
I bet you can guess what happened when he did…
Peter didn’t catch anything! Not a single fish!
An Amazing Catch!
Peter lowered his net and the entire net was filled with fish! Enough fish that it nearly broke the nets! They had to call in for reinforcements! They needed more people to help haul in all of the fish! Talk about a successful morning out at sea!
So what do you think Peter did when he saw the haul of fish?
Peter fell to his knees and bowed down to Jesus. He told Jesus to leave him because he didn’t deserve to be in Jesus’s presence…
And Peter was right. He didn’t deserve Jesus… but do you know what Jesus did?
A Changed Man
He didn’t leave Peter. Not even a little bit. Instead, Jesus invited Peter to come with him.
Peter, who didn’t deserve to be near Jesus at all. Peter, who had doubted Jesus and mocked him when he said to let down the nets. Jesus stuck near Peter. And more than that, Jesus told him to come with him.
“C’mon, I’ll make you a fisher of men,” he said. And this would be different… He wouldn’t have to hurt the men to catch him. He wouldn’t need nets, or hooks. He wouldn’t have to sell them, or fry them up to eat them.
When Peter fished for men, he would get friends. He would have people who loved him.
But he would have to leave everything behind to follow Jesus. His fishing business. His boats, his gear, all the cool stuff he probably had.
He didn’t know what the trade-off would be… But he knew one thing.
He was just an ordinary fisherman, but being with Jesus? He had made an extraordinary catch.
And Peter was going to do even more extraordinary things when he was with Jesus. Jesus was able to turn ordinary Peter into an extraordinary person… One we’re still talking about over 2,000 years later.
And you know what? Jesus can do that for you, too.
He can turn ordinary you into extraordinary you. All you have to do is follow Him.