What do you do when God seems crazy?  What do you do when God does the unthinkable - when it seems like God has betrayed you?  After leaving his family business to follow Jesus for almost 3 years, the disciple Simon (aka Peter) finds himself in just that kind of situation.

Simon was a fisherman from Galilee (Matthew 4:18), on the northern part of Israel.  Fishermen in that area had a reputation of being what we might call today a "hill-billy." Eidersheim says that many looked down on people from Galilee, referring to them as "country cousins." (Sketches of Jewish Social Life - pg 32)  With derision, the Pharisees maligned Nicodemus, asking him, "You aren't from Galilee too are you ?" (John 7:52) Galileans even spoke with a recognizable accent (Matthew 26:73; Eidersheim - pg 40) similar to present-day "hill-billies." Simon, like all Jews who believed the Scriptures, lived in anticipation of the day when the Anointed One (i.e. the Messiah or the Christ) would overthrow the existing government, set Himself up as King, and make everything right.

Many people had come before, claiming to be the Anointed One (i.e. the Messiah or the Christ) -- only to be shown to be a fraud (Acts 5:36-37).  When a leader rose up, claiming to be somebody, he would sometimes amass a band of followers eager to join the revolt and see God fulfil His promises to overthrow the existing government.  I imagine most of these leaders capitalized on the promises of Scripture, claiming to be the Anointed One (i.e. the Messiah or the Christ), but in the end each leader was killed, shown to be a fraud resulting in the scattering and disillusionment of their followers.

Fishing on the Sea of Galilee was a competitive and difficult job.  There were as many as 230 boats working the lake, which was only about 13 miles x 7 miles (Jesus and the Forgotten City - pg 142).  Sometimes, fishermen would work third-shift, all night long, without catching anything (Luke 5:5).  In one such instance, Jesus instructed Simon to lower the nets "one more time" and Simon reluctantly obeys, catching such a large number of fish that their nets began to tear! (Luke 5:4-7)  It's easy for me to imagine the excitement that Simon felt, thinking, "I've hit the jackpot!"

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