Field Stone Cottage Blog

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How About This Fish Story!

Still thinking about humility, I have been considering Matthew 17:24-28 the last few days. Here's the passage:

24After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax came to Peter and asked, "Doesn't your teacher pay the temple tax?"

25"Yes, he does," he replied.
When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. "What do you think, Simon?" he asked. "From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes—from their own sons or from others?"

26"From others," Peter answered.

"Then the sons are exempt," Jesus said to him. 27"But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours."

Here's impulsive Peter answering for Jesus without consulting Him regarding paying the temple tax. My first impulse is to chuckle and shake my head. That's Peter for you. But right on the heels of that thought is "How many times do I decide what God says about a particular topic or situation on the spur of the moment without asking Him through prayer and consultation of His Word?" How telling that Jesus uses Peter's old name, the one by which he was called before becoming a follower of Christ. Perhaps I should have a "pre-Christian" name too.

But the last verse, verse 27, is the one I find even more intriguing. My husband, Andy, is a fisherman and, as his wife, I have done some fishing of my own. (Never mind that I am often just dangling the hook over the side enjoying being on the water and not caring if I get a bite or not.) We fish with hooks and lines because we are just sport fishing. Those who make their living by fishing use nets. And it was similar in Peter's time. While fishing with a hook and line was done, the commercial fishermen used nets back then too. But Jesus instructed Peter to use a hook and line. Jesus knew that a very particular fish was waiting for that particular line and here was an opportunity to increase Peter's faith and reliance on Him. Using a net would have "increased the odds" and decreased the evident miracle. But in the process was Peter, the former commercial fisherman, humbled as well in using a hook and line? Did the other fishermen, in their boats casting their nets, look askance at him? Scripture does not tell us so but I wonder. I do know, however, that when Jesus becomes more in my life, I must become less and that is the essence of humility. Lord, please, make me more humble.


Elle said...

I just finished this section of Matthew as well. I was equally in awe of the Peter with a cane pole and hook idea rather than a net of catchall. What an amazing picture does Jesus show Peter, and us, of His attribute of Lord of all things!

Dorothy said...