The story of the state of the world before creation tells us that the earth was formless, empty, dark, and covered with water. Here we get a mental image of eternal stillness. So the situation remained until God showed up and said, “Let there be light, and there was light” (Gen. 1:1-3).
The Gospel of John (5:2-8) tells the story of a cripple of thirty-eight years hoping for miraculous healing at a pool near the Sheep Gate. The man’s situation did not change until one Sabbath day, Jesus showed up and said to him, “stand up, pick up your mat and walk,” and that ended his disability of almost four decades.
For obvious reasons, Isaiah was doomed. He was a man of unclean lips living among people of unclean lips until the year King Uzziah died, and God showed up in the temple to cleanse and prepare him to become an oracle of His words (Isaiah 6:1-2a, 3-8).
Paul was a fanatic Pharisee who had a defective mission of persecuting and killing Christians in the name of protecting and advancing his Jewish belief system. He was excelling with the death of Stephen at his approval when the Lord showed up and granted him the grace of conversion, as he recounts in his first letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 15:1-11).
Simon was an ordinary fisherman who lived the normal fisherman’s life around the sea of Galilee. One day, he goes fishing at night with his brother Andrew and others, but they caught nothing the entire night.
At dawn, they were frustrated and washing their nets when Jesus showed up preaching. The crowd was large and pressing, so Jesus asked to use Peter’s boat as a pulpit to preach, and he obliged the Lord.
After addressing the crowd, Jesus asked Simon to put out his net into the deep for a catch. Simon complained that their nighttime was unfruitful; however, he obeyed the command, and suddenly, there was a great catch that filled two boats.
Simon Peter was so overwhelmed after the miraculous catch that he fell at his feet and begged, “depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” The miracle came with an illumination that Simon could not contain. Responding, Jesus invited him and others to another vocation, “the catching of men” for God.
Divine Transformation: The three major actors in the Readings of this Sunday (Isaiah, Paul, and Peter) share the phenomenon of change as a common denominator. We refer to it here as divine transformation. Isaiah was transformed from having an unclean lip to becoming the mouthpiece of God. Paul converted from a persecutor of Christians to a major promoter of Christianity. The mundane fishermen became fishers of men for the righteousness of God.
Obedience Precedes Transformation: Divine transformation is only possible when there is human compliance through the agency of submissive obedience. Isaiah’s prophetic commissioning in the temple after his cleansing could only happen because he obediently accepted the invitation to be sent; “here I am, send me!”
The conversion of Paul was not just the encounter with the light on his way to Damascus. The transformation included his obedience to the voice and vision that directed him to the city where Ananias completed the divine assignment, which included the restoration of his sight (Acts 9:3-18).
Peter had a great catch of fish after the “fishless” night because he obeyed the divine instruction to put out his net into the deep for a catch. Obedience is the springboard for divine provision.
Moving Forward: Nothing changes until God shows up, but we need to be responsive to God’s presence. Sometimes, our willingness to respond to God could be limited by some “king Uzziahs” in our life. Like Isaiah. King Uzziah stands for any and all manners of limitations in our lives that impede our access to God. Notice that it was the year King Uzziah died that Isaiah had his encounter
On the other hand, Peter’s donation by offering his boat as a platform for preaching the good news opened the door to the next level of encounter, the great catch. So, those willing to give charity challenge God’s kindness (Luke 6:38). St. Paul tells us that God, who supplies seeds to the sower and bread for food, will also supply and increase your store of seed and enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. (2 Cor.9:10).
The word of God tells us that tears may endure in the night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). Though the night was horrible for Simon Peter and his companions, the morning made a difference in their lives. May God show up for you at the most needful time of your life. God bless you.