Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” (Luke 5:10b NLT)
As I was reading the account of Jesus’ teaching the people while sitting in Simon Peter’s boat, the Holy Spirit brought a new train of thought to my mind.
The normal focus of this story is on the miraculous catch of fish. The nets were so full they began to break. Help was needed to land the catch. Simon called for more boats and they were so full that they were on the verge of sinking. No wonder Simon was afraid.
How many times have I read this account as a fisherman and marveled at the enormous catch of fish! This time, however, a new phrase caught my attention. It’s in the statement made by Jesus to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper and let down your nets, and you will catch many fish.” (Lk. 5:4b). Several factors about Jesus stand out to me that I missed in previous readings.
(1) Jesus knew exactly where the fish were located. Location is always a vital factor when fishing. That’s why serious fishermen use a sonar type fish-finder to identify fish and tell how deep they are from the bottom.
(2) Jesus knew they had fished all night close to shore and caught nothing. Fish usually come in close to shore at night to feed.
(3) Jesus guaranteed that they would catch fish. His words “you will” indicates their success. All that was needed was Simon’s willingness to obey. Even though he had some doubts, Simon said, “If you say so, we’ll try again.” (v. 5)
(4) Jesus assured Simon that they would catch “many” fish. It wouldn’t just be a few, but an enormous catch.
At first Simon addressed Jesus as “Master,” but after the catch he addresses him as “Lord.” What a change!
It is important to note that Jesus instructed Simon to “go” out where the fish were located. He didn’t tell him to sit in the boat and wait for the fish to come to him.
Are you out looking for the fish or sitting back and waiting for the fish to come to you?