Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him. —Luke 5:3-11
They had fished all night and had not caught even one fish! How many times did they cast their nets only to pull them in with nothing in them? All that work, all that labor, all night long for… nothing. Hear the defeat in Peter’s voice— ““Master, we toiled all night and took nothing!” And yet Peter, at Jesus’ word, responded— “But at your word I will let down the nets.”
All night long and had caught nothing. Then at Jesus’ word and their obedience in casting out the nets again, “they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking.” They went from catching nothing all night to one cast of the net at Jesus’ word and they “signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.” From no fish all night to one cast and then catching an abundance of fish— all at Jesus’ word.
Peter realized something about Jesus in that moment and he was “astonished.” This so impacted him that he confessed his own unworthiness to be in Jesus’ presence. Peter said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” This is how Peter saw himself in the presence of Jesus. How did Jesus respond to Peter? Did He say to Peter, “Yes Peter, I know that you are a wicked, wretched sinner?” No, instead Jesus said, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” Peter and his partners “brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.”
Jesus knows all things about all men (John 2:25) and yet he still loves all men (John 3:16). He called us to follow Him. He called us to be “catching men.” Oh, may we be faithful in this. But we can only be faithful in catching men if we are not first faithful in fishing for men, trusting Jesus to guide us to the “catch.”
Dear Father please help me to be a faithful fisherman and may You be pleased to work through me to catch men to Yourself. May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus because I cannot do this on my own.