Imagine a struggling company invites a consultant to come and make recommendations of what they could do better. After a lengthy and expensive analysis, the consultant’s advice is to just keep doing the same things. You can only guess at the complaints leveled like: “We’ve been doing that same thing for a long time and gotten no where. Don’t you have any new ideas?”
“We’ve been doing that same thing all night and caught nothing,” was Simon’s response to Jesus’ instructions of putting the nets down in the deep water. Simon along with James and John were professional fishermen. This was their business. It was how they made a living. So when Jesus recommended putting the nets down again, this was just doing the same old hoping for different results. This time was different. The nets were so full of fish that both boats were at the point of sinking. Peter fell to his knees confessing his sin and calling Jesus as Lord. Jesus gave Simon a new purpose which was to catch people for the kingdom of God.
Jesus had been teaching about the good news of the kingdom of God. Now was a perfect time for this to be shown in all its net bursting fulness. We in the church could learn from this as well. We have been casting nets in our surrounding communities with nets full and with nets empty. We search for marketing techniques and business models that will guarantee a full house every Sunday. Are we merely hauling people in the doors or are we bringing people into the kingdom of God? There is a difference.
Jesus announced his ministry would be good news for the poor and for the oppressed to be set free and for a reversal of economic systems that forever keep the poor in poverty. This is the good news of the kingdom of God and marks a striking contrast between caught up into the kingdom and being only a number.
Jesus as Lord is the bringer of the kingdom and as the living Word the voice to let down the nets. May we know the difference.