Simon was a successful businessman. He owned a boat, he owned nets. He caught fish and sold them and supported a family. His mother-in-law lived with him, his father isn’t mentioned anywhere. So although he was likely young when we first hear about him, he was experienced.
He had a few conversations with Jesus as Jesus was starting the preaching and teaching a part of his life. Jesus had grown up in Nazareth, about 40 miles from Capernaum where Peter and his family lived. Capernaum was on the north shore of Lake Tiberius, the sea of Galilee. Jesus moved to Capernaum. He taught in the synagogue there. He walked along the lake shore. In the early morning, when the day was getting started for most people, some people found Jesus and walked and talked.
That was about the time that the men who had been out fishing all night were taking their catch to the market and were cleaning up their nets. They were getting ready to quit for the day. They were tired. They were particularly tired when they didn’t have many fish to take to market, when their capacity to figure out the lake and find the fish failed.
Even professionals have bad days. There are days when no matter how hard you work, things don’t go right. You are in sales and no one is buying. You are in healthcare and there are more sick people than you can care for. You are in parenting and the kids are in one of those stages. You try hard and you can’t make it work.
On those days, you hate when people ask you questions. Or I do.
On this particular day, the first question Jesus the teacher asked Simon the boat owner wasn’t hard: “May I sit in your boat?”
Jesus needed a place to sit to teach the people who were crowding around him on the shore. He couldn’t move them. There wasn’t much place to go anyway, not for teaching a group in the morning before work.
So Jesus asked to sit in a boat, out a little from the shore. People would be able to hear him. People wouldn’t be able to push him.
It wasn’t hard work for Simon to offer his boat. In fact, it had to be kind of a privilege. The new teacher in town that was doing good work. The teacher who had spoken to his mother-in-law and made her well. The teacher that his brother Andrew said was “the one”.
Giving Jesus a platform was the least he could do.