Translation from the Book
Ὁ Θεός στήν Καινή Διαθήκη, Βοήθημα Κατωτέρου Κατηχητικοῦ Β΄,
ἐκδ. «Χριστιανική Ἐλπίς» Ὀρθόδοξη Ἀδελφότητα, Θεσσαλονίκη 2015, σσ. 13-17
The Miraculous Fishing
Let’s travel in places where Jesus walked (We show the map of Palestine).
• Where was Jesus born? In Bethlehem.
• Where did he live till the age of 30? In Nazareth.
• In which city did he settle in when he started his public action? In Capernaum.
• Nazareth and Capernaum belong to North Palestine, which was known as Galilee.
• We can also see Jerusalem close to Bethlehem in South Palestine, which is called Judea.
• Look at the river Jordan which is crossing almost the whole of Palestine.
Here, you can also see a lake. It’ s so big that it is also called sea. It was called by three names: Lake or sea of Galilee or Tiberias or Gennesaret.
A really amazing incident happened in that lake.
The coast of Capernaum is crowded. What is going on? There are a lot of people around someone. He is Jesus. It’s not been a long time since the day that Jesus started teaching and his reputation has already spread. Everyone was talking about him with wonder. “Nobody has ever talked in such a way like this Teacher”.
So, when they saw him at the beach, they surrounded him. They were eager to listen to him and Jesus didn’t object. But it was almost impossible for all those people to be able to see and listen to him. There were two small boats at the coast. The fishermen were tidying up their nets. They were two pairs of brothers, Peter and Andrew, James and John who were also friends and partners. Jesus got on the boat and asked Peter’s permission to stay in the boat to talk to the crowd. He, also, asked him if they could sail away from the coast so that the people could see him better. Peter gladly allowed him to preach, although he had been fishing the whole night and he was very tired. Moreover, Peter wanted to listen to Him as well.
So, Jesus started talking. He was teaching with simple words and examples, so that he could easily be understood even by people without education and children. When he finished teaching, he wanted to “pay back” Peter for letting Him being on his boat. So, instead of money He told him to go deeper in the lake and let down again the nets. Jesus’ order sounded really weird to him because you can only go fishing at night. Also, they didn’t find any fish the night before. So, was it possible to find any during the day?
But he was so impressed by Jesus' presence and teaching, that he told him: “Teacher, we had been trying the whole night but we didn’t manage to catch anything. I’ll try again only because you are asking me to”.
And indeed, they let down their nets in the water again. He couldn’t believe it! Fish! A lot of fish! They shouted to their partners, James and John, to come for help. Soon both boats were so full of fish, they almost sunk. Peter was so thrilled that he kneeled in front of Jesus. He was feeling so weak and unworthy to host the holy teacher in his boat. “Lord, please get out of my boat, because I am a sinful man” he said with awe. Jesus reassured him saying: “Do not be afraid! From now on you will catch people!” What did he mean? With those words, Jesus was inviting Peter to a great mission: Instead of fishing in the lake, he would start guiding people to God.
Peter, Andrew, James and John didn’t want to make money from that huge number of fish. At once, they abandoned their nets and followed Jesus. They became his disciples and Apostles. They were following Him wherever he was going, attending his teaching and miracles. After Jesus’ resurrection and Pentecost, they preached the gospel and they taught people about the true God. They became the greatest benefactors of humanity.
We owe a debt of gratitude to lots of benefactors for the progress of culture, science and arts. But the Apostles remain the greatest of them. They offered the light that will never go out, the medicines to heel the soul and give eternal life! They gave us the opportunity to come to know Jesus Christ and the Holy Gospel! We owe to them infinite gratitude!
It’s worth meeting them one by one. How many were they? Twelve.
Simon/Peter and Andrew: Sons of Jonah, fishermen at Galilee lake.
James and John: Brothers and sons of Zebedee, partners with Peter and Andrew.
Philip and Nathanael: Close friends! Philip was the first one to meet Jesus and he ran immediately to bring his friend Nathanael (also called Bartholomew)
Matthew/Levi and Thomas: Matthew was a tax collector of the Roman Empire. At that time Jews were slaves and paid taxes to Romans. Thomas, had a Greek name like other Jewish because Greek was the common language in the Roman Empire.
James of Alphaeus and Thaddaeus: James was the son of Alphaeus. Thaddaeus had two more names, Levvaeus and Judas (not the traitor).
Simon the Zealot/Cananaean and Judas Iscariot: Zealots were the rebel body of Jews. They were mostly against tax collectors because these were collaborating with the conquerors. Judas Iscariot was the one who betrayed Jesus. After Christ’s Resurrection he was replaced by Matthias.
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