Luke 5: 1 – 11 Jesus calls his first disciples

Luke 5: 1 – 11 Jesus calls his first disciples

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.’

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.’

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signalled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both the boats so full that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus knees and said, ‘Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!’ For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 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.’ So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

*       *       *

The title of this story is “Jesus calls his first disciples”. However, we must realise that this doesn’t mean that Jesus and Peter didn’t know each other before; indeed, it is likely that the opposite is true. John 1: 40 – 42 says:

“Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas’ (which, when translated, is Peter).”

Not merely had they met before, Jesus had given Simon a nickname.

In this story, Jesus is on the shore of Lake Gennesaret surrounded by a crowd who were listening to him explain the word of God. He wouldn’t have been reading the Torah to them, he would have been quoting it – accurately – from memory, and then explaining its application to their everyday lives.

As more people arrived, it would become difficult for those at the back to hear because of the crowd clustering round Jesus. He needed a place from which to preach, where he could avoid being closely surrounded. The nearest platform was a fishing boat at the water’s edge, where the fishermen were washing the nets, and Jesus asked Simon to put out from shore.

Simon had just finished a hard night’s work. He was in the middle of doing a routine task and had probably been looking forward to getting home, having some breakfast and then resting. Still, he does as Jesus asks.

“When he (Jesus) had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.’”

Simon is doubtless still tired, and still looking forward to packing up. And what on earth could Jesus know about fishing?

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.’

Simon expresses doubt, but he says “Because you say so, I will let down the nets” and then obeys. This has three lessons about faith for us.

Firstly, it’s okay to express doubt, provided you trust God for the answer to your doubt (Master, we’ve worked hard all night…).

Secondly, you need to acknowledge that God is in control (But because you say so…)

Thirdly, you need to be obedient (I will let down the nets).

And when Simon trusted and obeyed, what a result! So many fish that the nets tore and the boats started to sink. And Simon is overwhelmed, awe-struck – terrified. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, ‘Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!’

I expect he really felt like that. Before, he had seen Jesus as a teacher, a good man, one to respect, one to obey even. Suddenly, though, he’s confronted by Jesus’ power to act in the day to day world. Simon hadn’t been able to catch fish that night, despite his hard work and experience. Jesus, who knew nothing about fishing, had filled the nets to breaking point.

I imagine that Jesus smiles and claps Peter on the shoulder. “Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.’ So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.”

Prayer

Dear Father

Thank you for the example of Simon Peter’s obedience. Help me to do your will even when I don’t understand why something is to be done.

In Jesus’ name, Amen

Published by pennygadd51

I write. I've written many pieces of flash fiction, dozens of short stories and two novels, with a third in progress.

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