Simon had been a seasoned fishermen, but would he follow a carpenter's command to fish?
|"Not again, Andrew," Simon said to his younger brother. "First it was Abner, the Rebel. Then, it was John, baptizing at the River Jordan. Now, you say that you have found the Messiah? What happened to John?"
"John himself pointed to the man."
"Hah!" Simon said. "That's a first. Did he have cold feet?"
"John is not afraid to talk against the priests or even against Herod."
"And we'll see the blood of John very soon," Simon said. "What's the name of this new Messiah you've found?"
"Jesus," Andrew said.
Simon's jaws dropped, looked hard at Andrew. He felt his face get very warm.
"And you think that someone from Nazareth can be the Messiah? Andrew, wise up!"
"We went to his house and stayed there for a while."
"And what did you see?"
Andrew looked at his feet. "Tools," he whispered.
"What kind of tools?"
Andrew swallowed hard before answering.
"Carpentry tools." Andrew was now looking at his brother through the corner of his eyes.
Simon raised his right hand as if he was to hit Andrew's head. The latter flinched. Then the older man dropped his hand and the younger one heaved a sigh.
"You mean this Jesus is just a carpenter?" Simon spoke in measured words.
"He's not just a carpenter," Andrew said. "You should hear him talk...."
Simon waved Andrew away. "I could understand a rebel leader being a Messiah, but a carpenter?" He turned his back then headed towards the door.
"Pick up those nets. The sons of Zebedee are waiting for us."
Andrew did as he was told. Purple and orange clouds dominated the sky as the sun turned fiery red; it was time to work.
- 0 - 0 -
The sun was beating on Simon when the fleet was returning to the shore. After more than twelve hours out in the sea they have caught nothing, not even a fingerling.
Simon was more confused than tired or frustrated. Never in his ten years' experience did he come home empty-handed. Even the other boats caught nothing.
As they were near the shore, he saw a crowd, and in the center was a man.
"That's Jesus," Andrew said.
Simon shook his head, then looked at his brother. "What's with the man? See how many he has already fooled."
The crew got off the boat once they reached the shore. Simon and Andrew started to inspect the nets to see if there was any hole that needed mending.
Simon heard a commotion. He turned around and saw Jesus starting to climb up his boat, being assisted by Andrew. He came stomping towards the carpenter, but Andrew got in between them, eyes pleading.
Simon looked hard at Andrew, then at the crowd. Not wanting to make a scandal he let Jesus stay on the boat. He turned his back towards Jesus and continued inspecting the nets. He tried to ignore Jesus as the latter continued to talk to the crowd.
"Let's go into deeper water," Simon heard Jesus speak.
Simon turned and realized that Jesus was talking to him. He was not able to react, but Andrew was quick to call the crew. Two men came to the boat and set the sail. Andrew signaled the men to stop at the spot where they usually fish. All the while, Simon just stood, frozen. He felt he was in a dream.
"Let down your net," Jesus said.
At this, Simon knew that this was real. He felt all his blood rush to his head. He was now breathing heavily, fists clenched. He mustered all his will power to stay composed.
"Master," he said, trying to control his voice, but making sure that his sarcasm won't get unnoticed by Jesus. "We've worked hard all night and did not catch anything."
Jesus just stood there, smiling at Simon.
The fisherman looked around. They were far from shore, and the sun was already on top of them. He saw his crew holding a net, ready to cast it to the sea. Simon's shoulders drooped.
"But because you said so, I will let down the nets."
With that the crew threw the net.
The boat listed instantly, and Simon was nearly thrown overboard. The crew became excited and went to haul the net. They found that it was too heavy that they were unable to bring in their catch. Water was now coming into the boat. Simon looked around and saw a couple of plates. He gave one to Andrew and took the other. Using the plates, the brothers bailed water out of the boat, but the volume of water coming in was greater than the water they removed.
Andrew began to wave his hands, calling out to the other boats on the shore. That was when he remembered Jesus. He looked at the bow but did not see the carpenter. Simon thought that Jesus might have fallen off the boat after that sudden movement. He walked a little towards the front and saw Jesus helping remove the water, using the plate he gave to Andrew.
Simon saw the boat of John and James coming towards them. The boat stopped near them, and some men went down and took hold of the other end of the net. Now, the crews of both boats tried to haul the catch. There were so many fish that even the new arrival began to sink.
"Let's go to the shore at once," Simon shouted to James, then lowered his sail. The other boat did the same. The sails began to flap hard, and both boats started to move. Simon scrambled to raise the anchor then began to steer.
They were a few hundred meters away from shore when the crew stopped removing the water. They scooped as much fish as they can get into the boat. The other crew did the same. As they neared the shore, the crew of both boats jumped to these and guided the boats. Simon heard a crunch as the boats landed on the shore.
Simon couldn't believe what had just happened. For twelve hours he caught nothing, and, now, in just a few moments, he hauled the biggest catch in his life. He raised his head and saw the carpenter looking at him. Simon rushed to Jesus and, unashamedly, knelt before him.
"Go away, Lord, for I am a sinful man."
Simon felt the hands of Jesus being laid on this head.
"Do not be afraid," Jesus said. "From now on, you will be catching men."
Simon heard the shuffling of feet and someone landing on the shore. He knew that it was Jesus getting off the boat. He stood up, jumped out, and ran after Jesus.
Andrew saw his brother, then moved to get out of the boat. "Take care of the catch," he said to one of the crew. When he landed on the shore, he saw James and John still in the other boat.
"Come," Andrew said to Zebedee's sons.
Without looking back at their catch, the brothers jumped out, and the three of them sprinted towards Jesus.