Who is Jesus? Peter had already answered this question on behalf of all those who were going to believe in Jesus. ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God’ (Mt 16:16). Jesus appreciated this answer because what Peter told exactly matched the assignment with which Jesus was sent from heaven. As Messiah, he was to deliver us from sin and its consequences. He was to deliver us from the clutches of evil. He is the Son of God, who lives and reigns forever. So Peter got a big appreciation from Jesus, though it was not Peter’s wisdom that prompted a correct answer from him. Jesus tells him in simple words not to take the credit for what he said. It was not flesh and blood, but the will of the Heavenly Father that prompted Peter to give the correct answer.
Elsewhere, Jesus himself confirms that the disciples were right when they called him Teacher and Lord. ‘You call me Teacher and Lord – and you are right, for that is what I am’ (Jn 13:13). Different titles convey different images of Jesus, but all invite us to develop a personal relationship with him. A personal relationship with Jesus the Teacher, Jesus the Lord, Jesus the Master, Jesus the Savior and so on. But at times we tend to confine Jesus as a Master only and nothing more. It is very common among non- Christians. They are happy only to accept and respect Jesus as a universal master or as a prophet from heaven. They are yet to reach the fullness of truth where they should realize that Jesus is in fact much more than what they thought of him; the Lord!
Among us Christians too, the number of people who could not experience the true Jesus is not less. For many, Jesus is their Master. Interestingly Peter too once belonged to this class. But it took hardly a few minutes for him to change his opinion. The incident is narrated in the gospel of Luke. Jesus was teaching from the boat of Simon Peter who had just returned with his friends empty-handed from a night’s toil. When Jesus told him to ‘put out into the deep water and let down his nets for a catch’ (Lk 5:4), Simon was skeptical about it. Yet he decided to obey Jesus saying, ‘Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets’ (Lk 5:5). The catch was so big and amazing that Simon had to call his partners from another boat to help him.
When Simon Peter saw the miracle of fish coming into his net from nowhere, he fell down at Jesus’ knees and said; ‘Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man’ (Lk 5:8). Here Peter confesses that Jesus is truly Lord. It was not a transformation of Jesus from Master to Lord, because Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever’( Heb 13:8). Rather it was the transformation of Simon who once believed Jesus to be a Master to Peter who confessed that Jesus is Lord. With this confession, Peter was relieved of his old job and instead given a new assignment. ‘From now on you will be catching people’ (Lk 5:10).
This is the transformation essential for a Christian. Those who regard Jesus as a mere Master will compare him with other masters, for whom there is no dearth on earth. On the other hand, those who experience the real Jesus, who is our Lord and Savior, will leave their past behind, and embark on a new sail to catch precious souls for the Lord.
Let us pray for the grace to be transformed and to proclaim our faith in Jesus the Lord.