7617 - Call of Four Fishermen


As we consider the call of four fishermen, remember that all of us have been called to something.

We are now in Chapter 5 in the Gospel of Luke.

Today we’ll talk about Jesus calling his first four disciples. Listen as I read Luke 5:1-11:

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, he saw at the water's edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 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.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch."

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."

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 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.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus' knees and said, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!" For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 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."

This interaction between these fishermen and Jesus was not their first meeting. Jesus had met these four men during the first year of his ministry, when he visited John the Baptist in the region of the Jordan.

These men had been with Jesus many times between their first meeting and this formal call to discipleship. They had been with him when he worked his first miracle at the wedding in Cana, when He turned water into the finest of wine. As recorded in John (2:11) the disciples put their faith in him at that time. Jesus and his family, along with his disciples, had also made a trip to Capernaum.

However, here near the midway point of his ministry Jesus issued a call for them to follow him. This is a call for them to join his ministry on a constant basis.

It seems they had rocked back and forth from being with Jesus to returning to their fishing business during these earlier months.

Peter readily refers to Jesus as “Master” when Jesus told him to go into the deep water & put down the nets. There seems to be a firm relationship between these two, and an implied faith & respect within Peter for Jesus.

Bear in mind that these men were professional fishermen and they had diligently sought to catch fish all during the night, with no results. Peter says: “...because you say so, I will let down the nets.” There is a trust expressed in those words.

His instructions when followed, loaded both boats so full they began to sink. That’s quite a conclusion to a fruitless night of work.

It brought Peter to the confession of his sinfulness. This was a supernatural occurrence – a miracle, mind you. His partners, James and John, also were awed by these events. Matthew and Mark both mention Andrew, Peter’s brother, as being on the scene also. These men were coming to the realization that Jesus is truly the divine One – the Son of God.

The call to leave this great catch and to come join the travel itinerary of Jesus brought the test of commitment. Were their hearts committed to follow Jesus at all cost? Were they ready to invest their lives to be fishers of men? The question is answered as they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything & followed Jesus.

Lest someone accuse this group of being wasteful, Mark (1:20) tells us that they left the business with their father, Zebedee, and the hired men. There was no wastefulness.

Thus began more than 18 months of close, daily mentoring of these men by Jesus. Just think, Jesus would commit the ministry of founding and growing the early church into the hands of these men plus a few others whom he would also call.