Where Miracles Begin

Dr. Ray Pritchard
Dr. Ray Pritchard

“’Master,’ Simon replied, ‘we’ve worked hard all night long and caught nothing’” (Luke 5:5).

 Fishing is hard work.

It’s one thing to fish on the weekends. It’s something else to fish every day for a living. Peter, Andrew, James and John fished on the Sea of Galilee year-round. They either sold their fish locally, or the fish were salt-cured and sold as far away as Spain. You wouldn’t get rich that way, but a hardworking man could take care of his family.

Now it is morning, and Peter and the others are tired, exhausted, dejected, and probably in a foul mood. Fisherman like to say that “your worst day fishing is better than your best day in the office,” but I’m not sure Peter would have agreed at that moment. Now they are busy mending the nets—time-consuming work made more difficult by the frustration of knowing they caught nothing the night before.

When Jesus asks Peter if he can use his boat for a pulpit, Peter immediately agrees. He knows Jesus and admires him greatly but until now has never made a wholehearted commitment.

How fitting it is. Jesus comes to the scene of Peter’s failure and uses it to preach the Word. He takes the ordinary and makes it sacred. He uses a simple fishing boat as the setting for a mighty miracle.

Nothing in this story happens by chance. The empty nets teach us an important truth: God prepares us for his call by allowing us to endure personal failure.

Miracles never happen by chance. Where there is no need, there is no miracle. God never just “shows off” his power. Strange as it may seem, Peter’s apparently wasted night of fishing turns out to be the best thing that ever happened to him.

We must be stripped of our self-confidence before we can be greatly used of God. Failure is never wasted if it leads us to cry out to the Lord.

Miracles begin when we come to the end of our own resources.

Lord Jesus, we thank you for failure because without it, we would never know how much we need you. Amen.

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Originally published February 18, 2018.

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