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Fishing Story

by | Feb 9, 2022 | Great Commission, Surrender

On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on Him to hear the Word of God, He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and He saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 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 5:1-11 ESV)

This Gospel story about Jesus and Simon (later called Peter) out on the water is revealing. We see Jesus in Peter’s boat, teaching the people from the water, using the lake’s acoustic properties to broadcast His voice. Knowing Peter’s luck that night, Jesus tells him to move the boat to deep water and put down his nets “for a catch.”

Now seasoned fishermen have a kind of horse sense when it comes to fish. Peter was done for the night. It was an empty netter. It happens sometimes. When Jesus suggested another try, Peter’s response was like, “You know, Lord, we struck out tonight. But”—the “but” drawn out here as if to humor Jesus—”But at Your word I will let down the nets.” And reluctantly he did so.

And then, a simple act of obedience scores the fish haul of a lifetime, swamping two boats to the point of collapse. At this spectacle, Peter declares, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” Did he say this because of his hesitancy at dropping the nets per Jesus’ direction? Did he say this because of some spiritual truth Jesus had said to the crowd from the boat that clicked with him? We don’t really know.

But we do know that a simple encounter with Jesus was enough to change the lives of Peter and two of his buddies, forever. We can imagine the three of them listening to Jesus speak to the crowds from the boat, maybe in parables, maybe about repentance and the need for forgiveness. (Sounds like Peter got that message!) But whatever it was it was enough for them to leave everything and follow their Savior.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, move our hearts like those of Peter, James, and John—to leave everything and follow Jesus. In His Name. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on February 3, 2022
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved

Reflection Questions:
1. When did a good piece of advice from another fisherman really pay off?
2. Why do you think Peter confessed his sin before Jesus at the sight of the boats loaded with fish?
3. When has a simple act of obedience toward God made a huge difference in your life?

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