How many charlatans do you suppose Peter saw in his day? Probably hundreds. The countryside was littered in those days with preachers, faith healers, zealots, prophets of one stripe or another. Sounds sort of familiar. Besides, his little brother Andrew and his partner’s baby brother John used to hang out with that sort. They sure spent enough time away from the nets and with John—that Baptist fellow down by the River Jordan…
So what do you think he thought about this Jesus? But if you imagine he may have been a bit on the cynical side, can we blame him?
How many times do you figure Peter said, “I am so sick of fish. But listen, Andrew, the important thing in life is to do your job and do it well. That’s about all life has to offer, you know? Just do the work that is laid out before you…”
So what do you think he thought about Jesus’ teaching? He probably listened with one ear even as he kept one eye on his boat.
Peter always impressed me as a practical sort of fellow, not given to whims and not likely to fall for the latest fad preacher. It would not surprise me to find out Andrew had to beg him to let Jesus sit in the boat and talk to the crowd. The problem with being a practical fellow who is perhaps a bit on the cynical side and inclined to listen to talk about God and Heaven and all that sort of thing with one ear—you might say with one ear tied behind his back—is it tends to lead a person into a very shallow life.
That must have been why Peter was reluctant to go out into the deep at first. He knew that once he took the risk of leaving his comfort zone, the direction of his life might very well change. He knew that when he left the shallow places behind—shallow places in his work, shallow places in his relationships with others, to himself and to God — and dared to go just a little bit deeper in trust, things were going to be different for him and for anyone who is around him.
Who among us is afraid to go a little deeper?
Peter had every excuse. I suspect we have a shortened version in Scripture. But something remarkable happened in the course of all of his expressions of fear, mistrust, cynical attitude, and all of his excuses as to why there was no point in going out. He said to Jesus, “But if you say so…” and he went out into the depths.
Ultimately, I believe that is one reason why Peter is a disciple.
What did Peter find when he trusted Jesus? Enough to get him rich? No, but more than enough to prove God’s love and desire for him…personally. So then he got really scared!
“Come,” Jesus said. Peter came. Ultimately, I believe that is the other reason why Peter is a disciple. Are You?
Trust and do what Jesus says, and follow after him. What more is a disciple? What more does God ask but that we leave the shallows behind and go out into the depths of his love?