This passage concerns the person and rule of Jesus, contrasting it with the natural abilities of the fisherman who failed to catch anything. Peter's humility, in being willing to fish ( verse 5 ), and in bowing down before Jesus ( verse 8 ) are used as a platform for service together with his willingness, verse 11. The catch represent the transforming power of Jesus who calls Peter to fish for people, as he did on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2.
Whilst Jesus still calls some people to serve him directly he calls all believers to minister for him. Everyone is of equal importance and has something to contribute.
Oscar Cervantes is a dramatic example of Jesus' power to transform lives. As a child, Oscar began to get into trouble. Then as he got older, he was jailed 17 times for brutal crimes. Prison psychiatrists said he was beyond help. But they were wrong! During a brief interval of freedom, Oscar met an elderly man who told him about Jesus. He placed his trust in the Lord and was changed into a kind, caring man. Shortly afterward he started a prison ministry. Chaplain H. C. Warwick describes it this way: "The third Saturday night of each month is 'Oscar Night' at Soledad. Inmates come to hear Oscar and they sing gospel songs with fervour; they sit intently for over 2 hours; they come freely to the chapel altar.... What professionals had failed to do for Oscar in years of counselling, Christ's Spirit did in a moment of conversion."
There are three sermons on this page...
Luke 5 1 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, 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 catch men." 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
Revelation about Jesus.
By healing of Peter's mother-in-law 4:38ff
By teaching, v.3.
By miracle, v.6.
Obedience of Peter, v.5b. "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets." Even though it went against his experience as a fisherman.
Astonished, 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken,. Shouldn't have happened. Wouldn't expect such a catch even if they had been fishing at the right time! Must be another reason...
Realisation by Peter that Jesus was from God and, in contrast Peter was sinful.
Jesus' response is not to reject Peter, but ask him to follow him & Peter accepted.
Promise of transformation for Peter.
"Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men." Prophecy fulfilled at Pentecost, 3,000 people came to faith.
Promise of transformation or those who will be caught.
In fishing you catch alive fish that become dead. Those who are fishing for God are trying to catch those who are dead so that they can become alive!
A sign outside a church read : "Be Fishers of Men.... You catch 'em,
He'll clean 'em."
The reason that Peter caught so many fish was the power of Jesus.
The reason that Peter caught a similar large number of fish after the death and resurrection of Jesus was the power of Jesus.
The reason that 3,000 people came to faith at Pentecost was the power of Jesus.
When we share our faith people do not believe because of us but because of the power of Jesus. We just have to trust. To be like Peter and trust even when our experience and logic may say, "Nothing will happen". We need to trust in a God who transforms.
Who transformed empty nets into full to bursting nets.
Who transformed Peter from a fisherman to a fisher of men.
Who transformed us dead fish to alive ones.
I have seen people's lives transformed by The Alpha Course. We are launching one at the end of this month. Please take one of the Alpha Sheets, pray about who to give it to and for the opportunity and strength to give it to someone. Then, when the moment comes cast out the net and see what God can do.
Luke 5:1-11: "Family Service"
( Using four cut out 'fish' with the following words written on the back, invite four children to 'fish' for them using a 'rod' and line with a hook on it. ) I have some fish here and would like four people to help me to catch one fish each.
When Jesus helped him get this enormous, miraculous catch of fish Simon was fearful.
Simon was an experienced fisherman and had just failed to catch anything. This carpenter had given him advice that was ridiculous! Fishing in the morning when it was difficult to see fish because of the sun on the water. But Simon had obeyed. Perhaps because Jesus had healed his mother-in-law ( 4:38 ). This second glimpse of Jesus power made him realise his own sin, and drove him to his knees.
Jesus is still powerful today. He should drive us to our knees. To confess our sin, to pray to him, to worship him. We can know Jesus as our best friend. But that should not blind us to the awe and reverence that he deserves.
Simon was a fisherman. He would always be a fisherman. After Jesus’ death Simon went back to fish on at least one occasion. Here, before he even becomes a follower of Jesus, he is prepared to let Jesus use his boat as a floating pulpit.
But from this moment on Jesus became more important than fishing. Jesus uses the skills that Simon had developed as a fisherman to be used as a fisher of men, verse 10. Jesus transformed Simon. He gave him a new name, Peter. he gave him a new occupation, evangelist.
On the Day of Pentecost we see this transformation when Peter gets up and delivers his first sermon. Three thousand people came to trust in Jesus in response !
Each of us has skills and experiences in our lives that can be used and transformed for the service of Jesus. All Jesus asks is that we make ourselves available to him. The more Christians who are actively involved in serving Jesus in the church the more that the church can become what God intends it to be. One thing that any one of us can do is to pray for someone to be caught by Jesus. All of you will have been given ‘fish cards’. Can I invite you to take these home and write on the back the names of people who you would like to become Christians. Then use that card everyday to pray for these people.
St Augustine said, ‘Without God, we cannot! Without us God will not!’
When we discover what Jesus is really like we have a choice.
When he saw the power of Jesus Simon’s response in verse 8 was to fall at Jesus' knees and said, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!" But Jesus doesn’t want us to distance ourselves from himself. He wants us to follow him. So Jesus asks Simon to give up everything and follow him.
Jesus reveals himself as powerful and holy so that he can offer forgiveness to us. He is holy, perfect, so he can offer himself to take the punishment for our sins on the cross. He is powerful and has defeated death to give us a living hope and a personal relationship with God.
Jesus offered Simon Peter forgiveness for denying him three times in the courtyard of the high priest. Where did this forgiveness take place ? On the shore of the Sea of Galilee where Jesus had first called Simon to follow him. After another miraculous catch of fish inspired by Jesus.
For Simon following Jesus meant living life in a completely different way. He ‘left everything’, verse 11 to follow Jesus. He left his job. Earlier, in 4:38 we read how Jesus healed Simon’s mother-in-law at Simon’s home. So, presumably, Simon would have left his home and family as he travelled around following Jesus. For three years Jesus groomed Simon Peter to be the leader of the early church. This involved him in giving up many opinions and attitudes as they came under the direction of Jesus.
Jesus has returned to heaven. So we cannot follow him in the exact way that Peter did. But Jesus still calls us to put our lives, our jobs, our families, our homes and possessions, our opinions and attitudes under his control. Because this will be best for us, for other people, and will bring glory to God.
John Stott wrote, ‘Christianity is not primarily a belief system, an ethical system, a ritual system, a social system or a church system - it is a person. Its Jesus Christ ! And to be a Christian is to know him, and to follow him, and to trust him.’
Luke 5:1-11 : The Fourth Before Lent Year C
5 1 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, 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 catch men." 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
Have you ever had the experience of someone who invades your personal space ? You are having a conversation with them and they stand a little too close to you and make you feel uncomfortable. You feel like you want to step back half a pace so they will keep their distance.
In today's gospel reading we have Jesus invading Simon's space. This was not the first time that Jesus and Simon had met. In 4:38 we read that Jesus left the synagogue and went to Simon's home afterwards where he healed his mother-in-law who had a high fever.
So Simon had encountered Jesus before and witnessed his power over sickness. He had probably heard Jesus preach before. Jesus used his boat as a floating pulpit. I have been on the shore of Lake Galilee and can imagine a crowd of people on the slopes, like a mini-amphitheatre, listening to the words of Jesus carrying across the still waters in the morning light.
Simon was tired that morning. He and his fellow fishermen had been fishing all night. In fact, Simon was tired and rather fed up, because they had caught nothing. He normally didn't mind washing and repairing the nets if they had got a good catch, but it almost seemed to rub salt into the wound that they had caught nothing. He just wanted to go home and sleep. Perhaps tomorrow night's fishing would be better.
Then Jesus came to ask Simon if he could borrow his boat hereadily agreed. How could he refuse after what Jesus had done for his mother-in-law ? After pushing a few yards out, Peter lay back in the boat, enjoying the sunshine, listening as Jesus addressed the crowd in the sitting position, the normal stance of a teacher.
Jesus was a good speaker. He made the Scriptures relevant, easy to understand, he spoke with authority and had a good sense of humour ! But suddenly he had finished and was talking to Simon. "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch."
Simon had been happy letting Jesus do his own thing. Healing, teaching, and driving out demons. But this carpenter's son was now telling him how to fish ! Simon had been fishing with his father from the time that he could walk. You didn't fish in the morning when the sun reflected off the water making it difficult to see. A mixture of indignation and resentment welled up inside Simon. But he put these to one side and decided he had better follow Jesus instructions. After all, he had already done miracles and he and his colleagues had failed to catch anything in their own strength. So he said, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets."
This is an example of faith. Sometimes God calls us to step out in obedience to him when it seems to defy logic and all our experience. But unless we do step out in faith, God cannot bless us.
Simon was blessed with this enormous catch of fish. So big that he had to call his partners to help fetch them all in. This shows the power of Jesus over nature and his willingness to provide in abundance for his followers. Even as they pulled the fish in the fishermen were on a knife edge. There was this gigantic catch, but the danger of their boats sinking.
Simon had seen Jesus heal his ill mother-in-law, preach, and now produce a catch of fish the size of which he had never seen before. This man must be from God ! It was too early for Simon to realise that Jesus was the Messiah or that he was God and man. But he still realises his own sinfulness when compared to Jesus. He said, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!"
Simon has now become Simon Peter in Luke's account. Perhaps this reflects a change from Simon the fisherman, to Simon the Petros or rock, the name given to Simon by Jesus when he told him he would build his church on him. Simon Peter acknowledges his inadequacy and Jesus holiness, power and stature.
Jesus could have accepted Simon Peter's humility and distanced himself from this irreligious, uneducated, fisherman. Instead he tells him not to be worried and accepts him unconditionally, calling him to take up a new vocation, fishing men. "Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men."
You might have expected Jesus to chose well-educated men from Jerusalem who were religious and knew the Scriptures to follow him. Instead he selects three fisherman from the unfashionable North and a traitorous tax-collector ( 5:27ff ) to start his collection of disciples. This shows that Jesus can choose anyone to follow him. None of us are good enough, but Jesus will not reject us.
Jesus would use and transform the skills of this fisherman to make him into a fisher of men. This miraculous catch of fish is like a dramatic parable. It foretells the time when many people would come to trust in Jesus. This was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost when about three thousand people came to faith in response to Peter's first ever sermon.
This wasn't the only time that Simon Peter had a fruitless night's fishing followed by Jesus telling him to cast his net resulting in a massive catch of fish. In John 21 this happens again, after the resurrection of Jesus. Once more Jesus shows his love and acceptance of Simon Peter, who had denied him three times.
Simon Peter, James and John responded to Jesus' invitation. 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. Simon Peter had a mother-in-law and, therefore was married, perhaps with children. He left 'everything', his family, friends, home town and business to follow Jesus. Jesus transformed this irreligious, uneducated, volatile fisherman into the leader of the early church, versed in the Scriptures, brave, full of the Spirit, fishing for a different type of soul !
This account shows us Jesus through the eyes of Peter. The one who has power to control nature. The one who can transform and enhance us, using our gifts for his service. He gives a new meaning and purpose to Simon Peter's life.
Peter represents 'sinners' everywhere. We are all called to bow the knee in humility before Jesus and to give up everything to follow him. In turn Jesus will not reject us, but accept us, forgive us, and remake us into the people that he wants us to be. Giving us a new reason for living.
A small boy thought his pocket knife was primarily something to be stuck into the ground or flicked into the side of thick barked trees. Then one day his grandfather said, "Hey, let me show you what you can do with that." The boy handed over the knife and watched intently as the older man took a piece of kindling and carved an intricate design of stars and circles on its side.
"Let me show you something else," said the boy 's Grandfather. He took a small block of wood, 3 inches by 5 inches, whittled off the corners, rounded the rough edges. He gouged and cut, grooved and shaved. In 1/2 an hour the boy was staring at the smiling, bearded face which emerged from the block of wood.
Let me show you one more thing." said the grandfather. He went into the refrigerator and using, the knife's bottle opener, opened 2 bottles of pop for a mid-morning snack.
"There," the Grandfather said as he handed the bottle of pop and the knife back to the boy,, "you can see there are a lot of good things you can do with a knife."