In the Gospel heard today, you hear Jesus speaking to you saying,
There is no getting around it. As much as we want to disagree with our Roman Catholic friends, St. Luke puts St. Peter front and center, today in the Gospel. He is the rock, the leader of the 12, and spokesman for them. In hearing Jesus, St. Peter is now to become a different man in order to witness a greater miracle than just catching a bunch of fish.
This greater miracle is not going to be a mountain-top experience, its not going to be a personal revelation, its quite possibly not even the resurrection of Christ Himself. No, the greater miracle is smaller than all of that. It is simply the conversion of a sinner by hearing the Word of God.
That’s right. Hearing the Word of God is a miracle, in and of itself. No other God in the history of the world has ever held conversation with man face to face, made good on His promises, and doesn’t change. And,
St. Peter, like this crowd, did just that: heard the Word
In the first place, when sinful Peter hears the Word of God, he is self-secure. Just before this event, his mother-in-law was sick, but Jesus healed her.
St. Peter had heard the Word
of God, seen Him in action and yet continued on in life as if nothing had
He is secure in his sinful ways and wishes not to depart from them. He wishes to retain his sin and love them and can not take comfort in the love and grace of God. He is thankful for the restoration of his mother, but believes nothing more needs to be done that he can’t do himself.
In the episode of the great catch of fish, St. Peter is called directly by Jesus, but he is only awakened. In this awakened state he begins to believe, but now knows there are things he must do.
The first of which is to repent of his sins, of which he begins to find too many. In one way, the large number of fish caught reveal to St. Peter the large amount of sin that he has, for he has toiled all night in search of all his sin, by his own hands, and has come up with nothing.
This pattern does not end for St. Peter with him following Jesus at the end of this reading. He remains in this awakened state even when the dawning of Easter is upon him. Throughout the gospel, St. Peter continues to hear that his sins are abominable and condemnable. He continues to learn that dregs can not satisfy an hungry soul.
They do give a sense of tumbling recklessness, where anything is permissible, but that is not peace. They do feed your imagination, giving you misplaced senses of awe, wonder, and majesty, but they offer no refreshing hope of conversion.
Jesus reveals to us what it means to not only be truly awakened, but also truly converted and St. Peter shows this to us. Acknowledging Jesus as true God and true man, believing He is crucified and risen for the salvation of the whole world, and that the Call of St. Peter has something to do with all that, is the point.
It is no coincidence that Jesus has 2 boats, 2 testaments, and 2 natures. It is not background story that water and boats appear again and again in all of Scripture. Jesus is at certain places at certain times to reveal sin to self-secure sinners and also to reveal their Savior and He does so through St, Peter and the Apostles.
It is not the way St. Peter acts. It is not the way he works. It is not the great example of faith that he displays. The only purpose St. Peter, or any other man in holy Scriptures, is there is to hand down the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures to you.
Prophetic Scriptures are defined by two things: 1) they tell of a promised Messiah in every word and 2) they are written by the prophets. The Apostolic Scriptures are similar yet they differ in two small points: 1) they tell of a Messiah that is here now and 2) they are written by the Apostles.
From the creation of the world, to the crossing of the
Red Sea, to catching a bunch of fish, Jesus has declared
that what these men write down is holy. And just to make sure that point
sticks, He becomes a man, Himself, and speaks as a man, even though He is also
For the sinner, God is not approachable. If we can not get near to God, there is no point in Him helping us do anything. If we can not speak with Him, there is no point in Him speaking to us. If we can not commune with Him, then there is no point to any protection or forgiveness He offers, because it would all mean nothing.
That is only if God were far away. In Christ, God becomes near. God does not just observe and interject here and there at random. In Jesus, God interacts and intercedes, physically. There is no call for you to be a fisherman, not catch fish, and then have God give you a great big catch, even metaphorically, in your life. In Jesus, God is speaking, men are hearing and are writing it down in the Spirit.
The reason you know what Jesus is telling you, and that it is in the Bible, is because you are hearing His Word and what He is teaching is that faith comes by hearing; hearing the Word of God, only: Scripture alone. No other revelation is acceptable. In no other place, except the Bible, is God handing out salvation.
Even the fish get it and much to our shame, they are the first to respond in this scene. First, there were no fish. Jesus spoke, then there were fish. You were caught in the Gospel the same way. First, there was no Church, but by the preaching of God’s Word, today the Church is practically full.
And on the Last Day, you will see that the Church is completely full. Not because
St. Peter went
fishing one day and certainly not because you had a vision. The Church is
filled and God’s Kingdom is extended when His Word is preached and the
Sacraments are administered according to it.
This is public knowledge. The Lord never spoke to someone privately and if He did, it was written down. Not too private anymore. Never believe a private revelation unless it is the Words of Scripture. The Prophets and the Apostles died to get them to you in order that you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.