Lord of Fish and Fishermen
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.” Luke 5:5
When’s the last time you were up all night? Was it due to work, illness, or travel? Were you anticipating a good experience or dreading a bad one?
Simon Peter and his brother Andrew had been up all night fishing. But they hadn’t caught any fish. Probably not the first time the nets of these professional fishermen had come up empty. Nevertheless, the long hours of futile labor must have rankled the men as they washed their nets.
Then Jesus stepped into their boat and said, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4).
Simon Peter’s answer betrayed his doubt: “Master … we haven’t caught anything.” In other words, “Lord, we’re the professionals. We know when and where the fish are most likely to be caught. If we’ve come up empty …”
Still, a spark of faith glowed in these words: “because you say so.” Peter and Andrew had traveled with Jesus throughout Galilee. They’d heard his authoritative teaching. They’d seen him cast out a demon and heal the sick (Luke 4:31-44).
They hadn’t committed to full-time discipleship, but the time spent with Jesus had filled them with wonder (see Luke 4:15, 22, 36). So when Jesus told them to throw the nets into the water, they obeyed. And they caught such a large number of fish that their nets nearly broke and the boat almost sank (Luke 5:6–7).
Peter didn’t miss the lesson. The Master controlled the uncontrollable—fish in the sea. If he could do that, he was worthy to be followed, worthy to be worshiped. Peter then fell at Jesus’s feet and said, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man” (v. 8). This humble response signified a profound change in the proud fisherman.
Jesus turned the all-nighter into a life-changing experience for Peter as well as Andrew, James, and John. They “pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed [Jesus]” (v. 11).
What’s keeping you up at night? Give it to Jesus. Obey his directives even if you waver between doubt and faith. He can take that spark of faith and transform your life.
Read Matthew 8:5–13. Compare the centurion’s faith in the Matthew passage to Peter’s faith in Luke 5:1–11. Why do you think Jesus praised the centurion so highly?
Read Luke 4:31–44. What was Jesus revealing about himself in these situations? How has he demonstrated those truths about himself in your life?
To waver between faith and doubt is human. Read Mark 9:14–29 and James 1:5–8. What will help us overcome doubt?
Denise K. Loock
This devotion is part of a series, The Miracles of the Messiah.