“So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat.” ~ Luke 5:1-3
Luke, though not an eyewitness of the events of the Gospels, was a traveling companion of Paul, a physician, and a friend of Peter’s. He was very thorough in his research and interviewed many, particularly Peter, before writing the books of Luke and Acts. And I so appreciate his detailed account! Jesus’ first interaction with Simon Peter gives us a glimpse into the man Peter was. He willingly rowed Jesus out onto the water and listened as He taught the crowd.
I like how God the Son used the natural amplification of the water He created, though He probably appreciated the personal space this gave Him away from the crowd, as well!
“When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, ‘Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.’ But Simon answered and said to Him, ‘Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.’ ” ~ Luke 5:4-5
I love the faith in Peter’s simple statement. “Nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” Oh my goodness, when God tells me to do something, though it has seemed impossible and hopeless up to that point, may I say as Peter, “Nevertheless at Your word I will.”
“And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!’ ” ~ Luke 5:6-8
Again, I was struck by Peter’s actions and words. When he saw that Jesus had abundantly and miraculously blessed them with an enormous catch of fish, his eyes were opened to Who Jesus really was – “the Christ of God” (Luke 9:20), and to who he himself really was – a lost sinner, unworthy to be in Jesus’ presence.
“O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God– through Jesus Christ our Lord!” ~ Romans 7:24-25
Like Paul in the passage from Romans above, Peter recognized his need for a Saviour. And this realization drove him to his knees. As I recognize my continual need for God, I too should hit my knees, praying and honoring Him.
“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.” ~ Luke 5:10b-11
They forsook all and followed Him. Can you and I say the same about ourselves? Am I truly willing to leave everything behind and follow Jesus?
These fishermen (Luke tells us that James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were Peter’s partners, vs. 10a, and in Matthew 4:18 it is mentioned that Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was with them as well) left their livelihood: their boats, nets, this huge catch of fish (money!), as well as their families, to follow Jesus. Completely. No turning back.
Oh, we are told that they all scattered and hid in fear later, when Jesus was seized, tried, and crucified. But they had seen and heard everything He had said and done throughout His years of ministry, and when they personally witnessed Him alive again (after being killed by the Romans!) they all gave their very lives for Him. Each and every disciple (except Judas) suffered and died proclaiming the good news of Jesus. John managed to live to a ripe old age but was tortured and imprisoned. The rest were put to death, refusing to deny Jesus. They lived, and died, for Him.
What if we all, in this season of giving – of goodwill toward men, peace on earth and joy to the world – chose to follow Jesus, completely, no turning back? Oh, what a wonderful world that would be!
Let’s “go tell it on the mountain, that Jesus Christ is born”! 🙂