Take a moment to recall visual images you’ve seen depicting Jesus. Perhaps a gentle teacher, explaining things to His curious followers? Or a tender shepherd, cradling a lamb? Especially at this time of year, a chubby infant swaddled in a manger? We rarely see a rough-hewn carpenter from Galilee or a defiant man confronting the religious leaders.
Many seek to “sanitize” Jesus theologically as well by saying He was merely a great moral teach er, but Scripture never gives us this option. The first few chapters of the Gospel of Luke are filled with angelic appearances, demon possession, miraculous healing, and a crowd that wants to kill Jesus. We see clearly that Jesus is no ordinary man.
In our reading today, Jesus demonstrates divine power over impossible conditions as part of His call to His disciples. These were professional, experienced fishermen—and their professional failure on this day was the occasion for Jesus to demonstrate that He was no ordinary man. He had command over nature, and He called an unlikely cast of characters together to be His disciples.
In verse 8, Peter has one of his great moments of insight. Peter recognized that Jesus was someone different from anyone he had ever known. In the face of Jesus’ power, Peter acknowledged that he was an unworthy sinner. Peter would come to learn, however, that Jesus can control demons, men, and creation itself—but He uses that power to bring people into relationship with God. Peter was sinful, but Jesus doesn’t turn him away. He invites this flawed fisherman to join Him. This Jesus doesn’t merely teach moral lessons. He transforms lives and gives purpose and restoration and healing. He did it for Peter, and He can do it for us.