Gospel reading: Luke 5:1-11
vs.1 Jesus was standing one day by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the crowd pressing round him listening to the word of God,
vs.2 when he caught sight of two boats close to the bank. The fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets.
vs.3 He got into one of the boats – it was Simon’s – and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
vs.4 When he had finished speaking he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and pay out your nets for a catch.”
vs.5 “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all night long and caught nothing, but if you say so, I will pay out the nets.”
vs.6 And when they had done this, they netted such a huge number of fish that their nets began to tear,
vs.7 so they signalled to their companions in the other boat to come and help them; when they came, they filled the two boats to sinking point.
vs.8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus saying, “Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man.”
vs.9 For he and all his companions were completely overcome by the catch they had made;
vs.10 so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were Simon’s partners. But Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on it is people you will catch.”
vs.11 Then, bringing their boats back to land, they left everything and followed him.
Luke 5: 1-11
This gospel of the “miraculous catch of fish” is unique to Luke and dramatically portrays a life-changing encounter between Jesus and some fishermen who are captivated by his preaching and his action and are inspired to follow him.
Where did this happen?
This happened at the Lake of Gennesaret also known as the Sea of Galilee or the Sea of Tiberias. It was situated 60 miles north of Jerusalem. At that time, it was an important commercial area supporting a flourishing fishing industry. Many of the main events in the life of Jesus took place in this area
When did this happen?
Jesus has just done a round of preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
It is not his first meeting with Peter. In Luke chapter 4:38 after preaching in the synagogue in Capernaum, Jesus went to Simon’s house. It was there that Jesus cured Simon’s mother in law who was suffering from a high fever. More specifically, this particular encounter took place in the early morning after the fishermen had returned from an unsuccessful night’s fishing.
Who was there? The crowd of people who were pressing round him wanting to hear everything he had to say.
Among them many fishermen including Simon Peter and his fishing companions; and also, his partners in the fishing business: the sons of Zebedee, James and John.
And of course, all on the seashore looking on with interest.
As the crowd pressed round Jesus wanting to catch his every word it became impossible for Jesus to hold them all in view. He needed a better vantage point and spotted two boats close to the bank. With Simon’s permission and support, he got into a boat, sat down and spoke to them from there. In the sitting position where he could have eye contact with the crowd, he was not “looking down” on them, he was not “talking down” to them but meeting them on the level with respect, acceptance, and friendliness.
After speaking, he asked Simon to “put out into deep water and to throw out his nets again for a catch.” Simon was an experienced fisherman. He knew that the fish came to the surface of the lake at night, not during the day, but in spite of his reservations and the odds against catching anything he took a chance on Jesus, trusting that there was something about this man that was sincere and credible, so he put into the deep water and dropped the nets again.
And the catch was so great –“their nets began to tear” that urgent help was needed from their companions in the other boat. The catch was abundant, amazing, exciting – they had never seen the likes of it before.
Peter had an overwhelming sense of the goodness of Jesus and felt that he personally was not good enough to be in his company. A feeling of inadequacy and unworthiness that was shared by all the others.
But Jesus reassured him and the others “You’re my men; you’re exactly the kind of people I need for the mission ahead. Come with me and we will do great things together. You ain’t seen nothing yet!!”
Stirred with new hope, with a new sense of purpose, with a new belief in themselves they parked up the old boats and embarked on a new and exciting adventure.
Guidelines for Meditation.
When have you been so engaged with what someone was saying, or doing, that you were totally drawn to them, by their joy, enthusiasm, vision and you just wanted to get closer to them, to listen, and to get to know more about that person?
Who was that person? Or was it a new movement or campaign? What was it that attracted you?
Can you remember a time or situation where you were getting nowhere with the task in hand, or had failed miserably in some aspect of life? Who was the person who sat down with you, talked to you, and gave you an understanding of where you were at, and believed that you were capable of more or better? You felt encouraged not to give up and your efforts came to fruition way beyond your wildest dreams?
Who are the people who have inspired you by their word and example, and you just felt you could trust them and take their advice and guidance?
Can you remember significant people in private life or public life who have reminded us that we are more than the labels, that others might have tried to reduce us to?
Recall moments of victory and celebration – school project, sports success, social achievement or family accomplishment – that were achieved through teamwork and collaboration – challenges that were only attainable by working together.
Remember a time when you experienced success that did not result wholly from your own efforts and you were overwhelmed and filled with a sense of deep gratitude?
Remember with gratitude the person or people who have had the most profound impact on the direction you have taken in your life – your role model, your inspiration, your “wind beneath your wings”?