“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 5.4-11
Jesus wan’t stupid. He knew the best way to get the attention of a fisherman was through fish. I mean, think about it for a minute. He picked the most important object of the livelihood of Simon Peter and flashed it in front of his face. Jesus didn’t mess around. He knew if he wanted to “catch” Peter, he needed the appropriate bait.
Jesus had just finished preaching and wrapping up his sermon, he receives platitudes from those who have waded waist-deep to thank him. He’s still sitting in the boat. Peter, James and John have probably been standing in the water the whole time, holding the boat steady while Jesus taught the crowds. Now the preaching is over and it’s time to get dry and warm.
Except, the sermon has really just began. What Peter and his fishermen friends didn’t know was that the object lesson was on it’s way and that it would involve them directly.
The screen play might look something like this.
[Jesus is sitting in the boat, held by three waist-deep and wet fisherman who are showing impatience to get dry and out of the water. They are weary because they fished all night with no success.]
Jesus speaks: “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
Peter speaks: “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything,.”
[Jesus says nothing, just looks at Peter.]
Peter speaks: “But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
[Exasperation as well as acceptance fills the fisherman’s faces as they do what Jesus requested.]
Well you know the rest of the story. They do as Jesus commands and fill two boats so full of fish that they began to sink. This is not your normal catch. This is a supernatural, once in a life-time catch. This is a miracle in the making. Never before in their life time have they seen anything like it.
Peter turns straight away to Jesus, confesses his sin, and right then and there is called into ministry as a disciple of Jesus. He’s anointed, confirmed and called all in a split second. “From now on,” Jesus says, “you will catch people.”
Peter, James and John who were use to catching fish were now caught by the master fisherman. They were converted in a moment and called into service of the King of the Universe. They “pulled their boats to shore, left everything and followed Jesus.”
What does it mean for us to be “caught by Jesus?” How will he get our attention so as to sway us into giving up everything to following him? Is he already doing this in our lives? Has he so blessed your business, your family or your vocation that you know it can only be God? Has he arranged for miracles of healing, transformation or restoration to take place that you are convinced God is near?
Jesus will use any and every circumstance to draw us to himself, to catch us in his nets.
Have you been caught? Have you been catching others for the Kingdom?
“O Lord God, you are amazing, beautiful and glorious. I praise you Lord for you loving kindness. That you would come as a man and want to “catch us” in your grace. It’s incredible! Come now, Holy Spirit, draw us forth into your care and your keeping. I praise you Lord for your goodness and thank you for loving me like you do. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen