“We’ve been shut out all night,” Peter said, “But if you say so, I’ll try again.” That was Peter’s response (Luke 5:1-11) to Jesus command to take the boat out and “lower the nets to catch some fish.” Yes, the nets they had just washed clean. Yes, this is Jesus the preacher who now suddenly thinks, not for the last time, he knows where the fish are. But then, this is the One who had said long before, “Let the water swarm with swimming creatures” of whom John will write, “Not one thing that exists was made without him.” I’m not sure how much Peter knew about him, but he preached good news and healed his mother-in-law. So, Peter and his partners threw the nets over the side.
And behold, the nets netted so many fish that it was starting to tear, and they had to call out for help. More fisherman came and they filled both boats with flopping fish until the boats were in danger of sinking.
Peter, overwhelmed, knelt before Jesus, “Leave me. I’m a sinful person.” Jesus doesn’t say “You are forgiven,” but says “Don’t be afraid.” 120 times that phrase is used in the bible. Grace is such an undeserved gift that it can leave us fearful. You know, if the sun is shining today and I’m enjoying the warmth, then I’m going to pay for such joy. Its, going to storm tomorrow and I’ll be miserable because that’s what I deserve.
A few verses down, Jesus does forgive sins. Yes, God graces us with undeserved forgiveness, but also gives comfort and encouragement. And Jesus has a plan for Peter the sinner. “From now on you will catch people instead of fish.”