Luke 5:2-11 [NIV] | 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.
Jesus became more familiar with Peter, staying in his home (Luke 4:38) and healing his mother-in-law of a fever, no small malady in a time before pain relievers, antibiotics, and vaccines. Peter’s home became a gathering place of sorts as word spread throughout Capernaum, and others made their way to his home, the desperate seeking healing and hope from this new rabbi.
For Peter, this was completely new. In Peter’s time the blind never saw. The lame never walked. The demons never left.
One day, after Peter returns from an unsuccessful overnight fishing trip, Jesus appears again on the beach and crowds began to form, eager to listen to His teaching. So Jesus asked the brothers to lend their boat to use as a place to sit and teach the gathering crowds. The brothers’ grimy and smelly boat—now a stage for the Son of God. And when the crowd dispersed, Jesus urged the men to give the nets another chance.
The Scripture suggests this tip rankled Peter, and we know why. When an amateur weighs in on our area of expertise, it raises our hackles. These guys knew the lake better than almost anyone. They were good at fishing, having spent their whole lives mastering the currents, discerning where schools of fish gathered and when exactly to cast their nets and when to draw them in. This was their business, their livelihood, their way of life. Jesus—He’s good for miracles and messages, but why was He messing with their business? Peter didn’t say it, but you know the internal dialogue went something like this: Jesus, You know nothing about this business. I’ve been doing this my whole life. It’s just not a good day out here. We’ll come back and get it tomorrow.
What followed was, well, a miracle. This was a vision of Peter’s future life. He was the empty net God would one day fill with spiritual power to preach to thousands of people at Pentecost, lead the early church, and write two books of inspired biblical canon.
This was Peter’s miracle. An empty net and an empty lake suddenly, inexplicably full of fish. Peter knew the sea, but Jesus made the sea.
Author: Daniel Darling