4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. Luke 5:1‑11 (NIV)
Let’s break this text down into several pieces and see
Where do we fit into the example that Jesus is giving in Luke 5:1-11?
Jesus had intentionally chosen to teach from a fishing boat (verse 3). It’s good to know that Jesus personally chooses people. Peter was there—He picked Peter’s boat.
We have a personal, knowledgeable Savior. God knows you and your life. That’s encouraging that He’s very personally interested in us. And our lives become the place where Christ’s powerful presence is to be known and made known. Peter’s boat was the place where the word of God came alive to Peter and his companions.
Jesus tells Simon to push out into the deep water for a catch. “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch. Simon answered and said, ‘Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.’”
You say it. I’ll do it. He recognized that Jesus had authority.
He could have thought, “What’s the use. We know fishing. You’re a carpenter.” Maybe he did think that, but what he did is more important. And the catch is so amazing that the nets are breaking and the boats are sinking. There’s an obvious difference between having Jesus in the boat or not. Hearing and following what Jesus says or not.
I don’t think the story is about fish. It’s about knowing who Jesus is and believing it. Most people in the world, know a historical Jesus, but does the presence of Jesus make a difference, change a person? Is that an important point of this story? I would say, yes, it is the main point of this story. Jesus really made an impression on Peter. It’s important for us to know that when we follow Jesus—when we trust and do what He says—we are putting our faith and trust in the Almighty God.
Peter and his co-workers clearly got the point. Verse 8 and 9 say, “When Simon Peter saw this (the catch of fish), he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, ‘Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!’ 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.”
His response is natural. It goes back to Adam and Eve. After they sinned, and did what the devil said rather than what God had said, they were afraid and hid from God—that’s called guilt. We all have it because we all sin (Genesis 3 and Romans 3:9-26).
However, Jesus tells him there’s nothing to be afraid of. He’s the Savior. But most importantly, Peter’s heart toward Jesus changes. He stays close to Jesus. Closer is where he needs to be. Closer to Jesus is where you and I need to be. It’s good to know that even when Peter caved in under pressure, and in fear said, “I don’t know the man!” Jesus didn’t give up on him. Jesus knew ahead of time (Matthew 26:75, Mark 14:30, Luke 22:34, John 13:38); He prayed for him before he fell (Luke 22:32). Peter is mentioned personally at Jesus’ resurrection (Mark 16:7), and Jesus talked with him afterwards, canceled the debt (Colossians 2:13-14) and reminded Peter that he had work to do (John 21:15-19).
Our hope is that nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:39 (NIV) So, I could give you many examples of the powerful presence of Christ in a believer’s life, but what about your own example? Jesus says to all believers, “Follow me” Luke 9:23