The Teacher and the Fish
You are a fisherman.
It’s been a long night of fishing - but you've come in with nothing. You're tired and sullen. As you approach the shore, through the early morning fog, you see a crowd gathering by the water's edge so you suggest to the others in the boat that you move down the beach a little so you will have room to wash the nets.
As you clean the nets, look around. What do you notice about the sky? the lake? the other boats? Is the air still, or can you feel a breeze?
You look at the crowd forming on the beach around a man who seems to be teaching them. People continue to flock onto the beach from the surrounding hills. As you watch the crowd grow, the teacher moves closer to your boat.
What do you feel as you watch this crowd? What are you thinking as this man gets closer to you and your friends?
You look around to make sure you can see all your tools and equipment. You can’t hear what the man is saying, but you think you recognize him from town. You look back to the nets. This washing will be finished soon, and then you can get some sleep.
Then, you hear your name. You turn around and look up. The man is standing right here, asking if he can get into your boat so the people can hear him.
How do you respond? Do you hesitate? Do you feel honored?
You exchange a look with your friends and decide to take the teacher on board, but you hope this will not take too long. You are dead tired.
“Can we push off a little from shore?” he asks. “The people will be able to hear better.”
You push off slightly. The boat rocks in the water. You continue to clean your nets as the teacher speaks. Something in his voice captures your attention – it is strong, but gentle. You put down the nets and listen more closely to his teaching. He is speaking about his Father, of the Kingdom of God.
After a few minutes, the teacher dismisses the crowd. As people begin to walk away, he turns to you and says, “Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”
"Master,” you stutter, “We have been out all night and caught nothing.”
He looks at you, waiting, but saying nothing.
“Because you say so,” you say, “I will let down the nets.”
You set out in the boat, and the teacher comes along for the ride. What are you thinking as you row out into the lake? You have heard stories of this man named Jesus. After rowing for several minutes, you come to deeper water. You and the others gather up your clean nets and toss them over the side.
You feel exhausted. You have done this all night, right in this spot.
Then, the boat jostles, and the nets suddenly pull against the side of the boat, which begins to list heavily to one side. You call out to your friends to help as you see the nets bulging with fish, straining with the great weight. You work furiously to bring in all the fish, filling both boats until you’re afraid you might not make it back to shore.
When you finally reach the shore, you begin unloading the fish. After a while, you look up at Jesus. He looks steadily back at you – through you.
What do you feel as you meet his gaze?
Suddenly, everything that you have ever done wrong suddenly floods your mind - all the times you have been angry and shouted your contempt at others, all the greed and envy that has overtaken you. Who is this man who makes you feel all of this?
You fall at his feet, holding your head and turning away from him.
“Go away from me, Lord. I am sinful.”
You wait and listen, but you only hear the water lapping the shore. You wait for Jesus to walk away.
Then you feel a hand on the top of your head. “Do not be afraid,” Jesus says. “From now on you will catch men rather than fish.”
How do you feel as you hear Jesus’ words? What do you notice about Jesus’ hand? What do you notice about yourself?
What do you want to say to Jesus?
Photo: Cassidy Heavenor
Music: Happiness by Benjamin Tissot on bensound.com
Sound Effects: freefx.co.uk