Jul 31, 2023
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. (Luke 5:8-11)
Days pass one into another without much pomp or fanfare. It’s just ordinary life: food, activity, sleep, some chit-chatting. Nothing special to see here. Certainly nothing that God would be interested in getting involved with. He deals with the big stuff, right? That’s certainly what Peter thought.
He was just an ordinary guy—a fisherman—and he and his companions had just come up empty after a whole night of working the nets.
But then Jesus shows up. Jesus needs Peter’s very ordinary boat and rowing skills so He can preach to a crowd. Then Jesus suggests another fishing trip: to the wrong place at the wrong time of day. But this time so many fish are caught that the boats began to sink—Peter had never seen anything like it! And in that moment, right there in the ordinary and perhaps even frustrating celebrity fishing trip Jesus had suckered them into, the Kingdom of God happened upon them.
The thin veneer of the ordinary was ripped back to reveal the Holy Son of God who had been sitting and working in their midst the whole time. Peter fell to Jesus’ knees in confession. Somehow all that preaching Jesus did from the shore didn’t do it for Peter: but this? Jesus stepped into the real, ordinary concerns of Peter’s life—into the personal sphere of Peter’s expertise and inadequacy—in order to reveal a work that Peter’s practiced, master angler eyes could see and know immediately was nothing less than divine. So Peter fell to Jesus’ knees.
Then Jesus said: “Don’t be afraid, I still need your ordinary fishing skills.” Ordinary Peter had been participating in some big holy mysteries all day without even knowing it—but now with the eyes to see it, his life would never be the same. He left everything to follow Jesus.
It’s one thing to hear the word. It’s another to see and experience the word made flesh in one’s own life. That’s why it’s important to look for the places in your ordinary life where Jesus’ salvation meets you.
Because under the thin veneer of all that ordinary everyday life, a Holy God is stirring about. It’s never just fish, or work, or ordinary life. We might be ordinary sinful people, but God in Jesus has redeemed the sinful and put the ordinary to His use. God’s holiness surges through the ordinary as our bodies become temples of the Holy Spirit, bread is given for the forgiveness of sins, and water marks us as God’s own.
So keep your eyes peeled and your ears attentive. You never know where the thin veneer of your ordinary everyday life might give way to a vision of Jesus at work. But beware, because to realize that the sacred mysteries of Jesus’ work are right there, stirring about within the ordinary of your life, might also mean that you, like Peter, can no longer be the same.