Last Sunday we heard about the call of Peter from the gospel of John. This week we read the better-known account from Mark. Herod Antipas had been tetrarch of Galilee since shortly after the death of his father, King Herod the Great, in 4 B.C. Building the city of Tiberias, the jewel on the Sea of Galilee, and maintaining a full retinue of government officials, soldiers and construction workers required a substantial income. Herod’s government licensed fishing rights on the Sea of Galilee to fishermen who partnered together to form a syndicate large enough to make purchase of the license feasible. For the best fishing techniques, two boats were needed for stretching the nets. Such boats were expensive, but business loans could be arranged with Herod’s government (a second source of income). Each day’s catch was also taxed according to the take (a third source of income).
Fishermen would need a minimum of eight workers to help with fishing each night and hire others for during the day when the boats were used to transport cargo and passengers around the lake. By keeping the boats busy all the time, they could make ends meet. It is possible that Peter was head of the syndicate and title holder of at least one of the boats. If that were the case, leaving the nets behind was more complex than pulling a little runabout up on the shore. Peter would have had to figure out how to keep the business going, pay expenses, take care of his workers, and delegate out responsibilities while he, his brother, Andrew, and friends James and John, dedicated their lives and much of their time to becoming disciples of Jesus.
The reality of how Peter would have had to organize his responsibilities with priority to following Jesus is a good example for us today who must learn to do the same, given the various responsibilities of our lives.