In Luke 5:1-11, we find some fishermen who have been casting large nets all night. They were casting and drawing it in, casting and drawing it in and so on. My arm gets tired from just casting a fishing line, and how frustrated I get when I don’t even get a nibble. These guys were pulling in these large nets and nothing! I would have been discouraged, disappointed for sure! When Jesus calls out to Peter, they are cleaning their nets! They’re getting everything cleaned up and put away. But then Jesus now in one of the boats that belongs to Peter says for Peter to push out a little from the shore. That’s pretty simple request, so Peter goes, and does as he was requested, and Jesus continues to teach from the boat. However, when Jesus finished speaking, Jesus now tells Peter to “put out in to the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Now it’s starting to become more challenging. Here we see fisherman who do this for a living being told to get back out there in the water, being called into deeper waters to let down their clean nets for a catch. Peter’s response again was simply, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as you say and let down the nets.”
I believe there’s a great lesson for us in just what we see in the first few verses. There are so many areas of our lives where we can look at and say, “I’ve tried and I’ve tried and I’ve tried, and NOTHING has resulted from all of what I have done.” Do we have to understand the reason for the commands that Jesus gives for us to be obedient to Him? The answer is no. Our unwillingness to submit and obey the Lord’s commands stems from our analyzing the command and just not seeing how such a command is going to be beneficial to us and others (cf. Isa. 55:8,9). When called into deeper waters to cast the net again, we say, “I don’t get it.” Such baffles the mind. Peter’s obedience, from the simplest, now to the more challenging shows that He was paying attention to Jesus. Peter was hearing the words that Jesus was speaking from his boat (cf. Romans 10:17).
You notice that Jesus told him, “let down your nets FOR A CATCH!” They were going to have to let down the nets! If they wanted the fish, they were going to have to do something… go out into the deeper waters and let down the nets for a catch! Peter trusted and obeyed at the Lord’s command. How obedient are we today? How many of us Christians have come in and washing the nets, we haven’t caught anything, yet Jesus is saying time to get back out there in the water, called into deeper waters to cast the net again. As we know of our study of Peter, he would be called into more challenging things, but Peter would learn each time the necessity of putting his full trust into Jesus. Something that is very important for us to learn as well.
Our text continues in verse 6-9 to show the result of following the Lord’s commands. It wasn’t just about getting a huge amount of fish, which I’m certain that the tired fishermen were thrilled at getting! The text says that there were so many fish that the net was breaking, they even had to get some help from their partners who were in another boat to come and help them. The fish were so many, that the boats began to sink. Was Peter focused on the fish? NO! Peter is found in a state of awe, recognizing Jesus as the Son of God. Peter is not found telling Jesus to accompany them on other fishing expeditions as a fishing guide, it’s not about what Jesus can do for him physically and financially, but what Peter realizes here is what he is before the Son of God spiritually! Peter fell down at Jesus’ knees saying “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man!” (8) Peter recognizes what he is before Jesus. How often we forget this. Oh to be like Peter and realize our condition before the Lord.
In the last few verses of our text, verses 10,11, we find that James, John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.” Jesus first responds to Peter’s response and tell him to “not be afraid.” Jesus didn’t begin to berate Peter and tell him, yes, you are a sinful person and are not worthy of being in His presence. No, Jesus desires for him, along with James and John to come to Him, to trust Him. Jesus had a mission for them, and that was to be “fishers of men.” As we noted, Peter, James and John were “ALL IN.” To be “all in” means that they are leaving their comfort zone! These are fishermen, who know how to fish, not educated scholars, not distinguished speakers. Spiritually, they are called into deeper waters! They were up for the task obviously because they “forsook all and followed Him.”
Jesus became their FIRST PRIORITY! Does this mean that we are to quit our secular jobs? No, for as we know from the scriptures, Peter, James and John would still fish, Paul would sew tents for financial support and Paul would even speak on working so one may eat (2 Thess. 3:10). Now we do need to make sure that our career doesn’t interfere with the Lord and worship. Simply put, the mission that the disciples were on was about putting Jesus first in everything (Matthew 6:33). Jesus’ mission was now Peter, James and John’s mission, “to seek and save that which is lost” (Luke 19:10). Their life was not just about going and fishing day in and day out, there was so much more to life! Their primary responsibility was to follow Jesus. That day, the encounter they had with Jesus would change everything! They left everything!
We don’t find the Peter, James and John saying, “hold on Lord, we have a few things we need to tend to.” That’s the problem we have today. We tell the Lord, maybe not so blatantly out loud, but ever-so subtly, “hold on Lord, I’ve got something else to tend to before I follow You.” My friends, Jesus would speak volumes on what it means to be a true disciple, a true follower of Him! It means as Jesus even said in Luke 9:23-25. The world must be left behind for man cannot serve God and mammon (cf. Matt. 6:24). Peter, James and John would accept the challenge to be a follower of Jesus and to be “fishers of men.”
When we became a Christian, were we really “all in”? Were we really willing to leave those things of the world that vie for our hearts and minds, so we could seek the things of the Lord, to be about our Father’s business… tending to what the Lord has put emphasis on? Yea, even being “fishers of men”, seeking and saving the lost?
I can seek those things of the world, but at the very cost of my own soul. As one has commented on this passage, the BIG catch of the day was NOT the slew of FISH that Peter and his fellow fishermen brought in, but it was actually Peter, James and John. They were to bring in people as they did with the fish. When you think about it, these guys were fishing every day because this was their livelihood, their depended on it! This was not just a leisure thing they were doing to kill time. They were putting in effort, hoping, anticipating for a GOOD CATCH!
Friends, these same that would go on to follow Jesus would begin to learn what it meant to be “fishers of men” as Jesus would teach them. This was their mission; this was their livelihood as they would be commanded to fish for men! (cf. Mark 16:15,16). They would go on to trust the Lord with their lives. We must do the same today! The Lord is calling us into deeper waters today. It may be uncomfortable for us, we may think that talking about our faith with someone will not do any good, but at the word of Jesus, go out into the deep waters and let down the net for a catch. He will give certainly give the increase! (cf. 1 Cor. 3:7).
Something to think about. Have a great week! – DJ 🙂