After Jesus finishes teaching the people for the day, He turns to Simon. “Thank you for the use of your boat. Why don’t you go out into the deep water and see if there are any fish to catch?” The 4 fishermen in the boat look at each other doubtfully, and then back at Jesus. Simon isn’t sure, but he thinks he sees a twinkle in Jesus’ eye. “Um, Rabbi,” he starts, unable to look up at Jesus, and also unsure of how to say this without making it sound like Jesus doesn’t know what He’s talking about, “We fished all night long last night and didn’t catch anything. And, well, the fish don’t come out during the day…but…if You say so, we will try again.” Simon and Andrew let down the nets, one on each side of the boat. In no time at all, the nets are so full of fish that the boat begins to sink! James and John jump out of the boat and swim over to their father, who is a little ways down, sitting in their own boat and mending their nets. “Father, come quickly!” they shout to him.
Zebedee looks up and sees his sons swimming towards him, and then sees Peter and Andrew trying to keep their boat afloat with the enormous load of fish weighing them down. The nets are starting to rip. He quickly rows over to help. Half of the fish are loaded into Zebedee’s boat, and the other half into Peter and Andrew’s boat. Even with the weight split in half, the boats are both so heavy they are still in danger of sinking. They row to shore as fast as they can to unload their catch. Simon, realizing what has just happened, falls to his knees on the sand and bows his head to the ground. “Lord,” he says, his voice low and shaking, “go away from me, please. I am a sinful man.” The others, sitting around him, look up. They have been too caught up in the action to think about how it happened, but now, watching Simon, they begin to understand. This is a miracle of God, done by the Son of God. But Jesus goes to Simon, kneels down on the sand next to him, and raises his head. “Simon,” He says gently, “Don’t be afraid. Remember, I am teaching you to be a fisher of people. You are in no danger. Your humility is a sign that you are ready to turn from your sins, and so you are forgiven. It is people who cannot or will not humble themselves who should be worried.”