It was a sunny morning as beads of sweat already starting to form on his forehead. He pulled his brown cloth over this head to help shade his face and keep the sun out of his eyes. It had been a long and unsuccessful night for the men who spent the night in a boat with the goal to fill their nets with fish to sell. Instead, they returned empty-netted. Wearily, and somewhat grumpy, the fishermen washed the slimy, green seaweed out from the nets.
One of the fishermen, Peter, happened to glance over to the beach and noticed a crowd of people raising their hands and asking a young man different questions. He looked back down into the murky water, continuing to clean off his net, when he heard a voice he had never heard before. Peter looked up and right there in front of him was the same man whom the people in the crowd were wanting to know more about.
“Hey, excuse me. My name is Jesus. Would you mind letting me sit in your boat and speak to this crowd that appears to be following me and asking me many questions. Since the crowd is growing, do you mind if we push the boat off shore into the water a little ways so more can hear me?”
Peter, a little puzzled and curious at the same time, said, “Sure.”
Jesus said, “Thanks, man. I really appreciate that. By the way, what’s your name?”
“Simon. Simon Peter.”
“Thanks again. I’d love for you to stay close by and listen to what I’m going to say. No pressure but I hope it encourages you after a rough night in the sea.”
“How did he know it was a night with no catch and how disappointed and frustrated we feel?” he thought.
But Peter stayed and listened and was truly amazed at what this guy spoke about; redemption, salvation, miracles, hope, love and God the Father. When this Teacher stopped, Peter didn’t want him to. He could listen to this guy 24/7.
To his surprise, while he was in a daze trying to absorb all that Jesus had spoken, he heard that voice again, but this time it was directed to him. “Push out into deep water. Let down your nets for some fish!”
He snapped out of his daze and laughed with a hint of sarcasm. “Teacher, we worked all night and caught nothing. Zilch. Nada. But if you say so, I’ll try.”
Jesus grinned. Peter didn’t know why Jesus was so amused, but he did what he asked because he fascinated him. Recently he had healed his mother-in-law from her high fever which shocked him because they thought she was about to die. He hadn’t stopped thinking about that miracle and then this morning there continued to be something about him because the stories he told ended up having a lesson to learn. And what about those promises? Promising that the scriptures from Isaiah and Elijah have now occurred and all he says is good news about the kingdom of God.
So, Peter hollered out to his brother and friends. “Andrew, James, John! Come on! We’re going to go back out and try to catch some fish one more time.” They looked at him like he was crazy, and with some doubt, but they love each other because they were like family. They all jumped back into our boat and headed back out to deeper water.
It had not even been five minutes after they threw the nets back in the water when they felt a strong pull; so much that their boat leaned sharply down toward the water and they thought they all might fall in. The net was so full of fish the ropes started to rip.
“Help! We need another net!” Peter shouted. The fishermen in the boat not far from us came closer and threw their net in the water too and their net became so heavy, as well. Our boats began to sink because of the weight as they rowed as fast as they could to the shore. Once they arrived to where they could stand and walk in the water, Peter knew that this Teacher, this man named Jesus, was sent from God. He jumped out of the boat while still in the water and ran as fast as he could, splashing salt water all around himself, as he made his way over to where Jesus was standing, still grinning.
When Peter was finally close to Jesus, he fell to his knees and cried out, “Go away from me, Lord, because I am a sinful man!” Jesus looked down at him and said, “Don’t be afraid Simon Peter. From now on you’ll fish for people!”.
From that moment on, Simon Peter left everything and followed Jesus.
That’s what I imagine when I read that story and historical point found in Luke 5:1-5. I try to imagine what Peter felt like when he witnessed Jesus’ miracle of the hundreds of fish in his net and the invitation from Jesus to follow Him and be His disciple. Yes, I’d cry out, “I’m too much of a sinner to be near you!” if I were him, too and had not known Jesus yet.
But what caught my attention was something that I hadn’t noticed before when I’ve read those words. In verse 5:5, after Jesus asked Simon Peter to put the nets back in the water, Peter said (paraphrased), “We worked hard last night and didn’t catch a thing, so I doubt there will be any now, BUT IF YOU SAY SO, I’ll do it.
But if you say so…
What I loved about Peter is that he wanted to do what Jesus asked him to do even when he doubted. Jesus asked him to drop down the nets and Peter said, I don’t think I’ll catch anything BUT IF HE SAYS SO. I might be crazy and don’t know what’s going to happen if I follow this guy, BUT IF HE SAYS SO I will. I don’t understand what He means about fishing for people, BUT IF HE SAYS SO I’ll learn how. I don’t know how in the world I’d be able to heal anyone BUT IF HE SAYS SO I’ll try.
He allowed trust to trump over doubt.
Do I live with that kind of risk? That kind of trust? That kind of obedience? There’s been times when God asked me to do something and I politely said, “No thank you, I don’t think so.” instead of “OK, God, if You say so, I will.”
I don’t think I’ll say the right things when I tell my co-worker my faith testimony, but God, if you say so, I will.
I don’t know how I’d be qualified for the job opening, but if You want me to apply for it Lord, I will.
How is it possible to raise enough money to go on my mission trip? But if You say so, Lord, I’ll keep trying.
I don’t think I’m capable of hosting a new small group, but if You say so, I will.
I don’t think I’m good enough to lead a new ministry, but if You say so, God, I will.
Let us live joyfully with the “If You say so, God” attitude. I believe God will bless you in countless ways!