Today, I read two passages that bookend well together.
The first, Psalm 125, which begins:
Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be shaken but endures forever.
The second, is from Luke 5.Â After beginning his public ministry, Jesus calls Simon Peter, James, and John to follow him. After addressing a crowd from Simon’s fishing boat, Jesus commands Simon to put out his net.Â Simon responds:
Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.Â But because you say so, I will let down the nets.
The nets are lowered, an enormous number of fish are caught, and Simon falls at Jesus’ feet, leading to this exchange:
“Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!.”Â For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
Psalm 125 promises that those who trust in the Lord (lit. YHWH) will be like Mount Zion, and Luke 5 depicts Simon – who would be called The Rock – trusting in Jesus.
A couple of side notes.Â I appreciate the egalitarian spirit of the TNIV, which I am currently using in my personal reading, but “you will fish for people” simply doesn’t have the rhetorical strength of “thou shalt catch men” from the King James. Also, did Simon’s entire fishing company disband and follow Jesus?Â The text has an interesting change of person: Jesus calls Simon to follow him, then concludes “So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything, and followed him.” The change of person is also their in both the King James and NIV.
How does it change our perspective of this scene to think of any entire company of men – a small business, really – following Jesus together?Â Were they following Jesus, or were they following Simon Peter, their boss, who was following Jesus?