March 9

Bible Reading: Luke 5

I love to go fishing! Some time ago I was fishing for steelhead on one of my favorite rivers.  I had lost one fish and was nearing the end of my allotted time to catch one.  I was desperate. So desperate that I resorted to giving a pep talk to the fishing lure I was using.  I reminded the lure that its purpose was to catch fish, and that it had thus served me well on many previous occasions.  I spoke to it of how we were out of time and how I needed for it to hook a fish right away—this is a true story!  I cast the lure out into the hole and immediately I hooked a nice size steelhead.  Luck? —I don’t believe in that.  Divine providence? —perhaps, but unfortunately the fish came off after about 15 seconds.  That’s the way it goes with fishing.  Sometimes you catch fish.  Sometimes you don’t.  I can relate to Peter’s experience that we read about in this chapter.

Peter and his friends “toiled all night” fishing and “took nothing” (Luke 5:4).  They were boat fishermen.  They fished at night because that was when the fish could be found along the shoreline.  And at night the fish were naïve to the existence of the encompassing nets that would spell their doom.  For hours they labored hard and despite their efforts no fish were to be found.  So, they made their way back to shore and were washing out their nets.

Jesus was there.  The crowd was pressing in on Him.  Jesus got into one of the boats and from there taught the people.  When He finished speaking, he said to Peter, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4).  This was not Peter’s first introduction to Jesus.  On a previous occasion Peter’s brother, Andrew, had told him about Jesus.  “We have found the Messiah” he said (John 1:41).  Having been brought then to Jesus, Jesus changed his name from Simon to Peter (‘Peter’ is from the Greek word for ‘rock’; John 1:42).  From the beginning Jesus had plans for Peter. 

Peter was a fisherman.  He knew about fishing.  He had labored all night to no avail.  Daytime was not the time for good fishing, but He nevertheless obeyed Jesus and they went fishing together.  I’ve fished with plenty of different people and some real good fishermen, but Peter was privileged to fish with the “Master of the seas.”  And so, when they let down their nets “they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking” (Luke 5:6).  So great was the quantity of fish that they even filled another boat so that “they began to sink” (Luke 5:7).

It was said of Jesus following another miracle that “He has done all things well” (Mark 7:37), and that was the case in this case.  His supernatural wisdom, power, and sovereign control over all things were dramatically demonstrated to Peter.  And that explains Peter’s response as he and his friends were “astonished at the catch of fish” (Luke 5:9).  “He fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord’” (Luke 5:8).  Peter saw something of the glory of Jesus, and in that was made aware of his own shortcomings.  The miracle worked to simultaneously expose truths regarding both Jesus and Peter.  But Jesus was well aware of Peter’s needs.  Peter bid Jesus to depart, but Jesus instead called that sinful man, that ordinary fisherman, to follow Him, saying, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men” (Luke 5:10).

On a future occasion, some years later, Peter would again experience another miraculous catch at Jesus’ bidding (John 21:4-8).  That subsequent catch of fish played a role in Jesus’ restoration of Peter.  His ministry began with a miraculous catch and with a miraculous catch the resurrected Jesus put Peter back to work.

And then there came that remarkable day, when the restored and transformed fisher-of-men experienced another kind of miraculous catch!  At Pentecost, the Spirit-filled Peter stood before a large crowd of People.  He boldly proclaimed the truth of Jesus’ death and resurrection.  And the people responded.  3000 souls were added to the church (Acts 2:41)!  Peter the fisherman was made to be a fisher-of-men.  In every case it was Jesus Himself who caused the miraculous catch, well-pleased as he was, to call and use that ordinary fisherman.  I love a good “fish story,” but it was more than a story about catching fish, for it speaks to the truth regarding Jesus.  The Great Fisher of men still works in the lives of ordinary men and women in miraculous ways to accomplish miraculous things.

God is well pleased to work through ordinary men and women to accomplish extraordinary things!

Now while the gospel net is cast,
Do thou, O Lord, the effort own;
From numerous disappointments past,
Teach us to hope in thee alone.

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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