‘Now it happened that while the crowd was pressing around Him and listening to the word of God, He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret; and He saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake; but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the people from the boat. When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.” ‘
Although He is the super-spiritual savior of the world, there are some parts here where Jesus is also wildly practical. I heard a guy say one time that if our faith isn’t practical, it isn’t possible, and Jesus shows some practicality here.
The town that Jesus is in is small and the crowd would make it impossible for anyone but the front 20 people to hear what Jesus was saying. When Jesus sees the boats that are available, He goes out a little way and instantly forms a tiny amphitheater with the shoreline. People could crowd around on the shore in a semi-circle and hear Jesus. Sound also travels different over water, so more people could hear Him more clearly. Genius!
Jesus is also so relaxed in His teaching that He can sit down. It’s a tiny detail, but at a time when people could go hear a speaker or performer, sitting down to teach is a very humble presentation. Rabbis used to also sit and teach at the synagogue. This would be the modern-day equivalent of Pappy Reveal driving his church on a truck into a neighborhood, putting pews out on the street, and preaching to whichever neighbors would come out. He made a church out of the environment in which the people lived.
Next, Jesus does the impractical thing of fishing when nobody every catches any fish. (Of course, Peter fished all night and didn’t catch anything either!) Jesus knows the practical need for people to hear His words and to do some work. He guides Peter to do his job and shows off miraculous results. It wasn’t to make Peter rich or to pay him for the use of his boat, it was to show off Jesus’ power over all creation.
Jesus reigns, but He doesn’t rule like a tyrant. Whoever wanted to hear from the shore was welcome to hear, and Peter could listen to this Rabbi’s teaching advice or ignore it. As Jesus works in us today, watch for the practical and the show-off sides of Christ. He’s still the same and He’s still working in very similar ways.