Jesus and Peter knew each other before Peter was called to follow him as a disciple. Jesus went to Peter’s house, even supernaturally healed his mother-in-law. Peter was there when people came from all over to be delivered and healed. He listened as Jesus had taught the crowds. Yet he still didn’t fully get it.
At least not until he knew he was probably going to prove Jesus wrong. I mean, Peter was the experienced one. And today the fish of Galilee were on strike. And if truth be told he was probably a little grumpy after working hard and not catching anything. If it wasn’t Jesus, Peter may have even been offended at the request to throw the nets one more time. But it was his friend. So reluctantly, he cast again.
Then his net jiggled. He started to pull it in. It was such a large number of fish that his nets were breaking and the boat was sinking. He called his partners over in the other boat to help. (Notice they were in signaling distance yet not catching anything themselves). They came. They together witnessed the massive number of fish. Then all of a sudden revelation struck Peter like a lightning bolt.
“He fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”
Previously he had knowledge of Jesus, believed his miracles, and even had relationship with him. But it took something different that brought Peter to revelation. And to his knees.
We know this is the work of the Spirit. And yet this same thing is what we want when we teach and preach, that people will not just laugh, cry or be impressed with our profound insight but that they will fall to their knees in worship of Him. Or that our children not just be able to recite verses for Sunday School or our family coming just to warm the pews. Yet what’s our job since we can’t take the role of the Spirit? What can we do to facilitate seeing people come to revelation and not just greater information?
Before Peter ever went to his knees, Jesus beat him to it.
“At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place.”
This is what was happening right before Peter’s encounter in the boat. And the postscript of this section forms the other bookend:
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
We can have the best message in the world and rely on our talents and ability, and we can have the best intentions with our friends and family, but if we want to see revelation that brings transformation, then it begins with callouses on our knees.