There are times in my life where I have looked for God everywhere, and then when I pause I find Him right where I am at. Today as my pastor was sharing a message entitled He is Powerful, he shared about many examples where Jesus moved in power based on the faith of the person in need. He shared first about sending Peter to fish for their taxes.
“When they had come to Capernaum, those who received the temple tax came to Peter and said, “Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?” He said, “Yes.” And when he had come into the house, Jesus anticipated him, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?” Peter said to Him, “From strangers.” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you.”” Matthew 17:24-27
As Pastor Ness shared this, I thought about how many times Jesus had met Peter where he was. I thought about how many times Jesus related to Peter in his own profession throughout their time together.
I thought about how many times Peter had probably cleaned a fish. He was after all a fisherman. How often had he found lost coins swallowed by a fish? Of course we have no idea, but I am guessing very few. Yet on this occasion, the coin was found right in the fish’s mouth.
Jesus could have asked Peter to do anything, but instead He asked him to do something Peter had done at least a hundred times. He could have said, go sale some fish to pay our taxes. Yet He didn’t do the obvious, He showed His ability to operate in the supernatural. God met Peter where he could easily have met his own need and worked a miracle instead.
So often we try to meet our own needs in the natural. We decide that we can work a few more hours. We decide to cut back on expenses. We try to find a solution instead of looking to God. Jesus didn’t give Peter the chance to come up with a solution in the natural; Jesus told Peter to do something that would take faith and action. If we will let Him, God can meet us in our mundane routine, to show us His ability to meet our needs.
Let’s look at another example. “And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him.”
Jesus could have used any other terminology to describe Peter and Andrew following Him. He chose to call them fishers of men. We still use it today, although many of use are not fishermen. We still understand the concept and like to apply the title to ourselves. Jesus didn’t use the terminology with all the disciples though.
Then there is the amazing miracle catch. “So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat.
When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.”
And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.” Luke 5:1-11
This sounds like the same story shared in Matthew, only with more detail of what really took place that day. Peter was cleaning his nets, and Jesus used Peter’s boat to teach from. Peter would have heard the message preached to the multitudes. Only after the teaching was complete did Jesus instruct Peter into his own miracle. What if Peter had refused the use of his boat? James, John, Peter and Andrew were touched by the miracle and became Jesus disciples.
How often are the miracles other need, dependent on our faith and actions. If Hod meets us where we are, it is often to be a witness and influence to those in our sphere of influence. There are people that may never step foot in a church, but whose lives will be touched by God because of our witness, our decisions.
Even after His resurrection, Jesus met Peter back fishing. “After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing.
But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?” They answered Him, “No.” And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.
Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish.
Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.” Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”—knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish.” John 21:1-13
Jesus made himself know by the same miracle after his resurrection as He had started their ministry with. Maybe He did that to remind Peter of his calling to be a fisher of men. Maybe Peter needed the reminder that even though he had denied Christ, the calling on His life still stood. God is always trying to get our attention, to draw us to Him, closer to Him or back to Him.
I also don’t think that it was a coincidence that He met with where they were with bread and fish. Jesus is the Bread of Life. They are fishers of men. He wanted to remind them that with Him they can accomplish what they set out to. He gave them a catch in the natural to remind them of His calling to them, the one they had each accepted. He was empowering them to get back to that calling, to move forward in it.
God does the same for us. He meets us where we are. He uses things in our surroundings to help draw us into relationship and ministry with Him. He can use our everyday routines to meet our needs in supernatural ways. He can use lessons in our lives to draw us to Him, closer to Him or back to Him. He desires us to walk out the calling that He has placed on our lives, and generally speaking, He will use us right where we are.