Let us ‘LAUNCH OUT TO THE DEEP’ at the WORD of JESUS: So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, "Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." But Simon answered and said to Him, "Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net." (Luke 5:1-5)
In the above passage, Jesus saw the real situation of Simon Peter and his friends, who were washing their empty nets after toiling all night in the Lake of Gennesaret, also known as the Sea of Galilee and the Sea of Tiberias. After using his boat to teach the multitude (with Peter listening in), Jesus wanted to impress upon Peter that He was the Creator God who controlled nature, and He had a better vocation for Peter and his two friends than catch fishes for a living!
The miracle was that Christ commanded Peter to let down his nets in the deep to take a catch of fish during the daylight hours. This was against the common practice of fishing at night, and near the shore. Peter may have thought he knew more about fishing than Jesus did, but he did what Jesus commanded; and the Lord honored his obedient faith. The result was a magnificent catch that pointed to Christ’s deity and exposed Peter’s sinfulness in contrast. This catch was the reward of obedience, not the result of skill or technique!
The Believer’s Bible Commentary has listed nine important lessons to be learned from this encounter of Jesus with Peter and his fishermen friends:
- Jesus used Peter’s boat as a pulpit to teach the multitude. If we yield all our property and possessions to the Savior, it is wonderful how He uses them, and rewards us too.
- Jesus told Peter exactly where to find plenty of fish - after Peter and his friends had toiled all night without success. The work we do by our own wisdom and strength is futile as Jesus has stated so clearly: "…for without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). The secret of success in our daily work and acts of service is to be guided by God!
- Peter, an experienced fisherman, was willing to accept advice from Jesus, who was a Carpenter by trade. As a result, the nets were filled with fish. This shows the value of humility, obedience, and being willing to learn.
- It was in deep waters that Peter’s nets were filled to the breaking point. We must launch out to the deep in faith and obedience of the word of Jesus. Then only, we will be fruitful for God.
- Peter took the help of other fishermen to haul the fishes to shore, as his nets began to break due to the big catch of fish. When God blesses us, we need to involve our brethren to share in those blessings.
- This miracle produced in Peter an overpowering sense of his own unworthiness as he sensed Jesus as the Creator God who had absolute power over nature. When we encounter God, we too must sense our own unworthiness as well (similar to prophet Isaiah’s experience – Isa. 6:5).
- It was while Peter was engaged in his daily work activities that Christ called him to be a fisher of men. Just as a rudder guides a ship only when it is in motion, so God guides men when they too are in motion.
- Jesus called Peter from catching live fish ‘in order to kill them later’ to catching people (who were dead in their sins and trespasses - Eph. 2:1) ‘in order to give them life’. What are all the fish in the ocean compared to the incomparable privilege of seeing one soul won for Christ and for eternity!
- Finally, Peter, James, and John pulled their boats up on the beach and forsook all and followed Jesus on one of the best business days of their lives. The work of God is so much more important than anything we do in this world.