Early in His ministry Jesus borrowed Simon’s fishing boat in order to speak to a large crowd that had gathered to hear Him on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Simon’s name had not yet been changed to Peter at this point and he knew little of the Lord, but when Jesus had finished speaking He turned to Simon and told him: “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
Simon was hesitant as he and his companions had already worked hard the whole night with nothing to show for it. Their nets empty, they had returned to the shore and had washed their nets in preparation for the next evening’s work. We’re not told what made him do it, but Simon agreed to obey, saying to Jesus: “But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
Simon had worked hard and gotten nowhere. His nets were already prepared. Surely, he felt exhausted and was ready to rest for the day and yet when Jesus spoke to him, he obeyed. He didn’t obey because it made sense – for surely the best fishing time was already over – he obeyed because the Lord said so, and that was enough for him!
Luke 5:6 tells us that upon letting down their nets “they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.” Unable to deal with the haul, Simon and his brother signaled their partners James and John “in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.”
Realizing that Christ was no ordinary teacher because of the miracle, and having heard the way He had been speaking from the boat previously, Simon suddenly realized that the person before him was the Messiah and his first thought was that he shouldn’t be in Christ’s presence. Confessing that he was a sinful man Simon pleaded for Jesus to “go away” from him, but Jesus refused to leave telling him not to be afraid for from now on He said: “I will make you fishers of men”. Immediately upon hearing this, Simon and his friends “left everything and followed Him.”
We see in this passage of Scripture how Jesus chose Simon Peter and the others to be His disciples despite their past sin and how He helped these men catch a large haul of fish in order to provide for their families in their absence. But notice too how Peter and his friends were willing to leave everything – even their sudden windfall – to follow the Lord!
You and I may have been casting our nets in all of the wrong places. We may have come up empty in life, but if we would just listen to the voice of the Lord He would not only provide for our needs, we would come to understand who Christ really is!
As we become aware of our sin and how in our own strength we do not deserve to stand in Christ’s holy presence, rather than try to separate ourselves from Him we need only to confess our sin. As we do that, just as He did for Peter and the others, He will call us into His service to join Him in fishing for men – in order to win others to His kingdom!
May God bless you