“He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.”
Jesus calls Peter (and Andrew), telling them that he will make them fishers of men
(Matthew 4:18-22). Immediately, Peter leaves his former life of fishing behind (nets,
boats) and follows Jesus. For the next three years, he sits under Jesus’ teaching,
witnesses him perform miracles and heal the sick, and is sent by Jesus to do as he had
witnessed and learned. Yet, Peter misses the point.
After Jesus dies, Peter flees. He is fearful of being persecuted, fearful of what others will
think, fearful that he had believed a lie and that Jesus wasn’t the Messiah. When Jesus
resurrected, Peter still didn’t quite understand his original call, “I will make you fishers of
men.” So he goes back to the only life he knew, fishing. Peter, a professional fisherman
is out all night and caught nothing, until Jesus tells him to cast his net on the other side.
Later, Peter would encourage believers to live amongst those who don’t know Jesus, inspite
of persecution and possible death so that “they (non-believers) may see your good
deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12).
This is evangelism. God must be at work first if we are going to be fishers of men. He is
the one who gets all the glory just as he did for the great catch in John 21. We must not
fear what others will think, say, or do, rather we are to trust God in his call, go, and live
as example for what God has done. We don’t necessarily have to go to the other side of
the world, but we might just need to go to the other side of the street.