In tuesday's post I was awfully critical of the seven at the Sea of Galilee. I assumed, as I usually do, that they were oblivious to what was going on. I assumed, as most commentators do, that the act of fishing was, for them, a retreat to the old way, a return to life before Jesus. I assumed that that somehow in the course of less than 40 days they had given up on their resurrected Rabbi.
I no longer think that way, and I hereby offer the seven at the Sea of Galilee my apology.
Waiting is hard. According to Matthew and Mark, Jesus had told his disciples to meet him in Galilee. They didn't travel their to get away from it all, but to regroup. Jesus, like any of us who make a trip home, was busy. He had lots of people to see, and so, while the disciples waited for him, Peter decides to go fishing; not out of a desire to return to the old way, not because he gave up on Jesus, but because Peter liked to fish. But Peter and rest couldn't just throw a line in the water, pop a cold one, and relax. For Peter and the rest, fishing meant filling a boat with nets, pushing out into the Sea, stripping down, and working all night long. It was their habit, it was they only way these men could fish.
They didn't catch anything, but it wasn't because God was punishing them for giving up on Jesus. They didn't catch anything because God was waiting to give them a miraculous catch. God was waiting to mirror their original call to discipleship. God was waiting to assure Peter of his forgiveness.
So maybe they weren't just "Sitting on the dock of the bay, wasting time." Maybe they were in a lull in the midst of being faithful. Oh that I would take advantage of the time that God gives me in the midst of trying to be faithful.