FROM FISH TO SHEEP
M.Anthony David Swaroop Kumar
When Mary brought word that she had seen the Lord, none of us believed. But later on, He appeared to us twice. The last time even Thomas the Doubter, was convinced of His resurrection.
One day I just felt like doing something familiar. Why not catch fish, I thought. When I said, “I am going out to fish”, my friends Thomas, John, James, Nathaniel and others replied, “We’ll go with you”
So, we dusted our old nets and hired a boat to go fishing. Fishing was in our blood after all. There is nothing about fishing that we didn’t know. So, we tried all our techniques and life experiencing. The whole night we toiled, but caught nothing.
The rays of the dawn were touching us as we saw a figure standing tall on the shore. “Friends, have you caught any fish?” he enquired. When we said no, he suggested, “Throw your nets on the right side of the boat and you will find some fish.”
I was so exhausted and worn out, that I didn’t have the energy to laugh. I knew for sure that at this time of the day, we can’t catch any fish! But we obeyed him. After all, we had already tried all our tricks!
A miracle happened! We landed up with a huge haul of fish – 153 in all, and most of them large! Yet our net was nor torn.
It was then that John uttered, “It is the Lord!” I grabbed a cloak around me and jumped into the sea. The others brought the boat back. As I swam ashore, I saw a fire of burning coals with fish and bread on it. A welcome sight indeed!
The Master was there! “Bring some of the fish you have just caught,” He said. The fish we caught? Through the night, we depended on our skills and caught nothing. Not a single fish. A single command from the Master- a huge haul of fish!
He invited us. “Come and have breakfast” What a welcome voice. The Master Himself took bread and fish from off the burning coals to serve us. Once our hunger was satisfied, the Master spoke again.
He called me, “Simon, son of John, do you truly love me more than these? I said, “Yes Lord, you know that I love you.” “Feed my lambs,” He said.
The Master asked me again if I loved Him and when I said yes, He said, “ Take care of my sheep”. When He asked me for the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” I was hurt. I was reminded of the three times I had denied Him on that fateful night. I replied, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” What else could I say? He again told me, “Feed my sheep”.
He went on then to indicate how I would die. Then He exhorted me, “Follow me”. I was very curious to know what would happen to my young friend John. But the Lord replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”
The Master’s words are still ringing in my ears. “Feed my lambs. Take care of my sheep. Feed my sheep. You must follow me.”
How ironic? I started out this expedition to go back to my familiar vocation, to fish. My friends came along. But so did my Master. I thought of going back to fishing. But the Master intervened. He made me a shepherd instead. Here am I now a humble undershepherd for my Master, the great and loving Shepherd.
Simon Peter, ex fisherman.
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© 2004: Dr.M.A David S Kumar