A Fisherman’s Tale – Chapter 6

Another night of fishing and we were just beaching the boat when Andrew spotted a large school just off the shore, we grabbed our throw nets and waded out to try our luck. 

We had caught plenty through the night, but you fished when there were fish.  There was no telling what tomorrow night might hold for us.

Just up the shore, John and James were cleaning their nets under the watchful eye of their father.  Old man Zebedee was just plain nasty, he growled and cussed as the crew got things tidied up for the day. It seemed that he demanded more from his sons then he did of the hired hands who helped out.

Too old to fish himself, he was there every morning to make sure that he wasn’t cheated out of his share as owner of the boat and always demanded to know why his sons hadn’t caught more or bigger fish, “Why in my day. . .”  Soon his raging just became part of the background.

Andrew and I tossed our nets into the swirling school of tilapia, while Eli tended to our equipment.  The kid was making himself an integral part of our crew and I had to stop thinking of him as the little boy he had been when Esther and I first met.

We pulled the nets ashore and added our catch to the pile from the night before.   I was adding up in my head what Amos, the fishmonger, would give us for our catch. I would never be rich from our profession, but it provided for my family and most of the time I loved what I did.

And then everything changed.  We had just pulled in what would be our last net, the school seemed to have figure out what was happening and moved into deeper water.  As we shook the few fish we’d caught onto the sand I felt his presence before I heard his voice.

“So, Simon, or should I say, Peter? Have you thought about our last conversation?  Are you ready to change the world?”

I turned and while the voice was the same, I wouldn’t have recognized Jesus if I had passed him on a crowded street.  He looked like his had lost twenty pounds, his face was ruddy from the sun, and his beard and hair were in need of a trim. Now he looked like his cousin John.

“Jesus, we thought you’d skipped town, where you disappear?” 

“When we have more time, I’ll tell you the story, but today the question is: are you ready? 

“Ready, ready for what?”

“Ready to catch people instead of fish. If you are then let Eli finish up here and follow me.”

And then he just walked away, I looked at Andrew and he just shrugged. 

It was Eli who broke the silence, “Go ahead guys, I’ve got this under control, and I’ll let Esther know you’ll be home later.” 

We rushed to catch up but realized there was no rush, Jesus had stopped to talk to John and James as well.  We didn’t catch the first part of his conversation we got there just in time to hear “follow me.”

Zebedee growled, “Think long and hard before you walk away from me boys, there’s work to be done here and you are far from finished.”

John looked from Jesus to his father and said: “Looks like you have it under control with the hired help, we’ll be back later.”

The old man roared and let go with a string of oaths, that would make a sailor blush.  It actually did, not so much for my sake, there wasn’t much I hadn’t heard before, but somehow, I felt offended because Jesus was there, but he just laughed it off.

“No wonder you boys call him Thunder behind his back, so the ‘Sons of Thunder’ you are.”