Entering into the Story…
From the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry, he was constantly surrounded by crowds of people. They wanted to learn from him and see him perform miracles. Jesus almost always spent time with the crowds, but Jesus also began to develop a smaller group of people to walk with him and learn from him and they were called disciples. This is a story of Jesus beginning to call his disciples.
One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there.
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”
“Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.
When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man.” For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him.
His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed. Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.
(Luke 5:1-11, NLT)
It is implied within the story (and in other references to Simon) that Jesus already knew Simon at some level. So, his asking Peter to use his boat to teach from would not have been uncommon. What would have been uncommon would have been a Teacher (called in Israel a Rabbi) asking a fisherman to go back out and fish some more. The center of the story is that Peter does what Jesus has asked – then the response to what happens when he does.
- How would you re-tell this story in a 21st century context?
- What happens when Peter and his associates go back out to fish? What is significant about Peter’s response to the large catch?
- How would you react to a miracle like this happening in your life?
- Do you think Jesus might be calling you into something? Why or Why not?