AN ASTOUNDING CATCH
Lord, as I seek to follow you, show me, your disciple, where your footsteps would lead me.
Read LUKE 5:1-11
Jesus Calls His First Disciples
5 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret,[a] the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. 2 He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
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 That is, the Sea of Galilee
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
May the Lord of the harvest open our eyes to see that the fields are ripe for harvest and give us faith to partner with him in bringing the harvest in.
Jesus now begins to assemble his ministry team. It is important that he meets these fishermen right where they are: they have seen healings and other miracles, but this miraculous catch of fish speaks their language. Luke highlights their impotence to produce such results on their own – and the incredible results of their obedience (vs 5–7): a catch so abundant that they need help to bring it in. Peter is clearly astounded, not just by Jesus’ power, but by his interest in his day-to-day activities and more mundane needs (vs 8,9).
As he often does, Jesus takes this common fishing scene and amplifies its meaning. He reassures Peter and tells him that now he will ‘fish for people’ (v 10). At this, the fishermen immediately leave their boats on shore and follow him. Jesus has entered their world and now he is drawing them into his world – and they are eager to follow. He has met them on their level and helped them in their work, and now he is inviting them into a different kind of work, catching a different kind of fish. Leaving their past and means of living behind to follow Jesus is a significant and costly act of discipleship.
This story prefigures the drawing in of large numbers of people through the apostolic mission. The image of the overwhelming catch, so large that the disciples can hardly reel it in, hints at the exponential growth of the church which begins a short time later.1 This ingathering of Christ-followers continues to this day, and Luke is implicitly urging his readers to join the great missional catch of people. Sometimes God’s mission feels overwhelming, and the first disciples could surely relate to this. Yet he calls us to join in, all the same.
How is God challenging you to leave everything and follow him (v 11)? What do you need to let go of to take hold of this significant calling today?
Thank you, Jesus, for calling and saving me; thank you for giving me the privilege to partner with your Spirit in sharing the gospel.
1 Described in the book of Acts
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