“And Jesus said to Simon,”
“Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”
“And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.”
Luke 5:10-11, (context vv. 4-11)
They were business men, sort of. These fisherman scraped out a living catching fish at night (with lanterns of course) and selling their catch to the merchants of Galilee by day. They worked very hard, fishing and always it seems, having to mend their nets. Plenty of back-breaking work and not much sleep.
Simon Peter seems to be their “foreman.” They probably had a collection of 2-3 boats that worked together and they ‘pooled’ their efforts to work the Sea of Galilee and go where the fishing would be best. They wanted to make money. That was their motivation.
But along comes Jesus, and their lives are about to be dramatically “turned-upside-down.”
Much of this account of Jesus’ calling these fishermen to become His disciples mystifies me. (I really challenge you to read the full account in Luke 5, and make your own judgments. The account is pretty straight forward and yet their is plenty of room for interpretation.)
Simon Peter is about to be schooled in the very first lesson of discipleship, and he doesn’t yet realize it.
Jesus commands them to throw out their nets again. But it’s daytime, and you don’t catch fish then, and besides they’ve already had a long hard night. They have already worked very hard.
This ‘crazy’ rabbi insists they throw out their nets. If they obey Him in this, they’ll catch a catch. Peter is a bit hesitant. They had fished all night. Zero. Zilch. Somehow I think Jesus had designed it that way.
At Jesus’ word the net is thrown out. And they catch such a catch that they filled up two boats, up to the brim. So full as a matter of fact, that both boats were on the verge of sinking. Peter was astonished. They had never ever seen anything like it!
“But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”
This is Peter’s first step. He saw it, he broke down, and he fell at his Lord’s feet. He was completely undone. Kneeling on the fish, he saw who he was, a sinner extraordinaire. Peter realized then that he was a man who didn’t deserve forgiveness. He wanted Jesus to leave him alone.
Perhaps this is the first lesson we must take to be His witness to a watching world. If we want to reach those who are terribly lost, we must ‘discover’ our own brokenness.
Peter would reflect on his own weaknesses and ‘pen’ a letter to the Church: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.”
1 Peter 5:6
“We had long known the Lord without realizing that meekness and lowliness of heart should be the distinguishing feature of the disciple.”