Just a Simple Fisherman
AN: I do not mean to imply that this is necessarily what was going through Peter's head, just that it's likely what would've been going through mine were I in his position. Also, I'm pretty sure Peter's name was Simon until Christ changed it.
Disclaimer: I own a copy of the Bible, but not the copyright to it. Actually, I don't think anyone owns the copyright. But on the off chance I'm wrong, please don't sue. You probably would be able to get enough from me to cover your court costs anyway.
So, you're probably wondering what I'm doing here, sitting on the beach with a line in the water. Well, the answer itself is pretty simplistic. I'm fishing. After all, I'm a fisherman... or at least I was. And I suppose I still am... in a way. The Master called it a fisher of man. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Sit back and let me tell you a story.
On a day, much like today, my brother and I were casting our nets into the water when a man walked by. At first I hardly noticed him. He was clothed in the same clothes as everyone else. He had no jewelry, no rings, nothing to draw our attention away from our fishing.
But somehow we drew his attention, for he called to us. "Simon, Andrew, put down your nets. Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."
I did indeed drop my net, but not because I had any intension of following some man I'd never met, some man who wanted to make me a fisher of man... whatever that was suppose to mean. No, I dropped my net for two reasons. One, I wanted to find out just how this strange man knew our names; and two, I wanted to ask him who he thought he was to order us around.
So I dropped my net and looked at him, intending to give him a piece of my mind. But when I locked eyes with him, something happened. To this day, I'm still not sure exactly what. But... but there was a purpose, a kindness and a hidden power behind those eyes. It was like nothing I'd ever seen before. I imagine that Moses had a similar look in his eyes after conversing with the burning bush.
That's what it was. It was as if this simple man before me was on a first name basis with Jehovah Himself. Surely the man had to be a prophet. There was no other explanation for it... and that also answered the question of how he knew our names.
Well, I had no idea what a prophet could want with a simple fisherman like me, but I figured he must know what he was doing. So I did follow him... and so did my brother.
Since that day we have beheld many strange and miraculous things. The man, Jesus of Nazareth,who called us is definitely a prophet... maybe even more than a prophet. He's easily as powerful as any I've ever heard of. I have seen Him raise the dead, fill the stomachs of thousands with just five loaves, and two fish and even the wind and the sea obey His commands.
And although I'm still not completely sure what a 'fisher of man' is, I'm fairly certain my brother and I have become two of them. So why, you may ask, am I seemingly right back where I started, sitting on a beach, waiting to catch a fish? Well, it all started with the tax collectors, unholy leaches sucking the life blood of the common working man. Oh, how I hate them.
The Master has repeatedly told me that I am not to hate anyone, that I must learn to hate the sin but not the sinner. I do try, but sometimes, it is just so hard. Still, I keep trying. The way He looks at me when I slip up and feel hate (even if I don't voice it), the sorrowful disappointment in His eyes... mixed with loving forgiveness, motivates me. It makes me want to be better than I am. It makes me want to be like Him. And so, I try.
I'm getting side tracked here, aren't I? Okay, back to the story. When the Master and I arrived in Capernaum, one of these... tax collectors came up to me. He insulted the Master and asked why He did not pay the temple tax. Enraged, I defended the Master and said that He always paid what he owed.
You should've seen the smirk that formed upon the face of that little... tax collector. It was sickening. "Well, then. I'll be by in the morning to collect." He smugly stated before turning and approaching another new arrival.
Then my face dropped as I remembered that we didn't have any money left. I hung my head and wandered around the town for about an hour, trying to solve the problem on my own, before finally sighing and returning to the house the Master was staying at.
When I told Him what had happened, He didn't scold me for losing my temper, nor did He seem at all worried. He just asked me a strange question about whether kings took custom and tribute from their children or from strangers. I replied that they took the money from strangers of course.
Then the Master gave me a sly look and asked, "Ah, then are the children free?"
I just stood there for a moment, contemplating the question. The Master often talked in riddles, and I was pretty sure that this was one of them. Not being able to decipher it on my own, I waited for Him to explain it to me.
But rather then explain, He simply told me to go cast a hook into the sea, reach into the mouth of the first fish I caught, and there I would find the money we needed.
Now, if anyone else had told me to do something like that, I would've said they were crazy and refused to waste my time; but who am I to refuse a man who even the wind and the sea obey?
So, I grabbed my fishing line and departed. And that is why I'm here. To be honest, I don't really expect to catch a fish with money in it's mouth, but I will do what the Master has asked of me. After all, this is all my fault anyway.
Just then, there is a tugging on my line. Two hours of waiting and I've finally caught a fish! I reeled him in carefully, so as not to break the line, and pull him from the water. He wiggles around, but I reach out and grab him with my other arm, holding him tightly. I reach into his mouth and take out the hook first. No sense spearing myself while searching for the coins.
Having removed the hook, I reach in deeply, coating my hand in sticky fish goop. And then I feel something. I can hardly believe it, even as I close my fist around the four drachma coins and pull them out.
Huh, what do you know? It worked. It actually worked! I guess I shouldn't be so surprised. I mean for a man who can raise the dead, how hard is it to put some coins in a fish's mouth? I should've known it would be just as He said. "Lord, help me, my unbelief." I pray as I release the fish back into the water. Any fish who can pay our taxes deserves to live another day.
Then I role up my line and, with a joyful heart, head back to the Master's house. Somehow He always takes care of the problems I get myself into.
(Well, I hope you enjoyed the short story. It's just an idea that's been buzzing around my head for awhile now and I wanted to get it down on paper. Please review if you feel like it. Thanks.
Have a good day, and God bless.