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It’s my favorite repentance account in the Bible. It was surely Peter’s favorite fish story!
Peter had fished all night at the North end of the Sea of Galilee. They stayed close to the shore where the fish were attracted to the hot springs pouring into the lake. They raised lamps which would attract the fish to the boat. Peter was a successful professional and used proven fishing techniques. The result of burning the midnight oil? Not one fish!
Now they pull to shore to rinse and straighten their nets. The prophet Jesus comes by and a crowd starts pressing so Jesus commandeers Peter’s vessel and preaches to the people from the boat. Then, rather than go back into shore where Peter can get a long awaited nap, Jesus says, “Put out into deep water for a catch.”
Perhaps to humor Jesus or to acknowledge him as a notoriety or perhaps…. At any rate Peter says, “OK, because you say so.” The nets go down, but don’t come up easy! As the fish are pulled in the boat sits lower and lower till water starts trickling over the gunnels!
I wish it was on video. Peter kneels down before Jesus on piles of fish and says, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!” To the best of our knowledge Jesus had not mentioned anything about Peter’s sin. He had not preached to him saying, “You are a crummy, depraved reprobate deserving the fires of Hell.” There is no, “Just as I am” playing in the background.
What makes Peter repent? It was the piles of fish! A landslide of prosperity brought repentance! I have heard people pray that non-believers would experience hardships to turn them to God. For a few hardship might be a stimulant but if you want real repentance it will come from loving kindness.
Jesus said bless your enemies, don’t curse them!
Paul said, God’s kindness leads us to repentance.
When we experience God’s cascading blessings it may lead us into a trembling sensation of awe and wonder which causes us to turn to our gracious Benefactor. Consider the prophecy of Jeremiah in 33:9; “…they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide…”
May our friends who are distant from Yeshua be hit hard by his overflowing kindness, bringing them to true repentance!
Steven C Johnson
Landing Strip Enterprises