Lent: Fishermen

Come with me.

Photograph, National Maritime Museum

National Maritme Museum

As Jesus was walking along the shore of Lake Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew. They were fishermen and were casting their nets into the lake. Jesus said to them, “Come with me! I will teach you how to bring in people instead of fish.” Right then the two brothers dropped their nets and went with him. Jesus walked on and soon saw James and John, the sons of Zebedee. They were in a boat, mending their nets.  At once Jesus asked them to come with him. They left their father in the boat with the hired workers and went with him.  Mark 1

Getting on with our lives

Jesus spent most of his life and ministry in the same small area, travelling up and down the same roads, from Galilee to Jerusalem.  The creator of the universe, walked dusty roads, visited small fishing villages, used the ordinary things of life, seeds, farming, fields, to explain mysteries ‘hidden from the beginning of time’   His audience – anyone.  

I love this story of Jesus walking up to Peter and Andrew, busy with their nets, and saying ‘Come with me’.    We can all summon up a picture of these fishermen, busy, getting on with their lives.   And Jesus interrupts, calls, invites with ‘Come’.  It is not like they never fished again, but they were never the same again.  See the end of the gospels, Jesus has died, been seen, no one really knows what is going on and Peter says, ‘I’m going fishing’ and he encounters the glorious risen Lord, cooking fish on the beach.   In his confusion and loss he returned to what he knew, fishing, and there God met him.

Just the same?

These fishermen’s lives have become graphic, glorious illustrations of spiritual truths. I can see in my mind’s eye their boats, the lake the sailed on, their nets, their catches.  Their practical every day lives transformed, brought alive vividly for us in the stories and parables of the gospels.  There were miraculous catches, calming of storms, water was walked on.  Fishes and nets are more than they fishes and nets they are metaphors for spiritual truths.

Fishermen of that time were seemingly, well – ordinary.   Not well do to, but most people were not, not abjectly poor, running a business, doing ok.   I feel an affinity  - I am a fisherman.   Ordinary. 

This invites me, to see my life, my desk, housework, my walking up and down the same streets day in day out, as transformed into something more.   Jesus comes to each of us and says, ‘Come’.   Where does he want to take us?   What does it mean to us to see him smiling at us at our work (at our kitchen sinks, creating our ‘excel’ files…..)    His invitation is to walk hand in hand with the extraordinary and the ordinary.  My life is just the same but will never be the same again.

Kirsty Hook