Obviously Jesus, who knew men's hearts, saw some spiritual potential in Peter. On the outside he was not exactly anyone's first choice for the Rock on whom the early church would be built. After listening to Alistair Begg preach this week on this passage on The Light 91.5 FM (9 am weekdays), I learned a few things about this Good Old Boy from Gallilee.
When Jesus - whom Peter admires but knows to be a landlubber carpenter, NOT an experienced fisherman - tells him to head out into deeper water, Peter tells him why it won't work BUT then obeys, saying these magic words: "Because you say so."
I don't think I want to know how many times Jesus has called me into deeper waters of acts requiring less so-called common sense and more faith. More trust, and less self-preservation. More love, and less selfishness. What kind of man would I be, and how much more would the world be blessed, had I said "weird, Lord, but because you say so" I will 1) apologize to this difficult person and ask their forgiveness; 2) contact this heart-stirring ministry and offer my services; 3) Think Big for God and move past the entropy of daily life. The Hallelujah Chorus Flash Mob would never, ever have happened if my better half hadn't prodded me into activity. And that's just one example.
More to the point, I don't want to live in the past, I want to look ahead with a "because you say so, Lord" attititude. That's exciting discipleship.
Second, I admire Peter's response at the success of the fishing expedition. For darn sure if, say, some godly lobbying effort succeeds, Guy Page is not going to drop to his knees in humility, acknowledge God's power, and say "I am a sinful man." No way, I'm doing a victory lap before the cloud of witnesses! Well, at least a big part of me will want to do that. Maybe that's one area of my life that would benefit from the "because you say so, Lord" treatment.
So the greatness of Peter is that when confronted by True Greatness, he acknowledged his comparative unworthiness and obeyed "because you say so, Lord." Those nets will catch men.
Jesus Calls His First Disciples1 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret,[a] the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. 2 He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.