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4 Before Lent



In todays’ lectionary reading we will be looking at Jesus calling His first disciples in Luke 5:1-11. Maybe you’d like to have that open as I share some thoughts on the passage.

The passage is entitled Jesus calls his first disciples.

I wonder when these fishermen left for work that morning, they had any idea how drastically their life was about to change?

When I think back over my life I’m not sure how many days I have had like that. I’m grateful I’ve grown up always knowing who Jesus is, but when I first gave my life to Him, I knew my things would be different from that day on.

Another day also springs to mind. It was when I first arrived at Uni and that first Sunday, I thought I should probably try and find a church. I was unsure about my faith and didn’t quite know what being a Christian at university looked like.

That Sunday morning, I was messaged by a student worker inviting me to their church and for lunch afterwards. I thought why not, let’s give it a go.

This church became my spiritual home for a number of years. I met some of my closest friends that day and it was really formational in my faith journey. Even more so in my vocational journey. I often think back to that day and how grateful I was for that one invite that really did set my life on totally a different path.

What would that day be like for you?

I’m sure this day for Simon Peter was a day he would never forget.

Jesus had been teaching standing by the Lake of Gennesaret and people had been gathering around the shoreline to hear him. Apparently, the geography of this area works as a natural amphitheatre. Jesus knowing this asks to borrow Simon’s boat to teach from.

After finishing teaching, Jesus tells Simon to cast out his nets into deep water.

Simon’s response here is interesting. He tells Jesus they’ve been working all night but because He has asked him, He will let down the nets.

And then the miraculous happens, they catch so many fishes they have to call for help, their nets begin to break!

Simon Peter didn’t make such excuses, even though he could have!

His faith in Jesus was well rewarded. Simon Peter understood that he probably knew more about fishing than a carpenter did and that he had worked all night without any results. The only reason why Simon Peter did what Jesus asked was because he believed in Jesus, not because the circumstances seemed right.

He then fell at Jesus feet, in awe and disbelief for what had just happened!

When Peter saw the great power of Jesus – displayed in Jesus’ knowledge in an area where He should have no knowledge – it made Peter realise his own spiritual bankruptcy compared to Jesus.

Because Peter was such an experienced fisherman, and because he knew how unfavourable the conditions were, he knew all the more what a great miracle this was.

Jesus responds to Simon by saying, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will fish for people” (5:10).

The Greek word for “catching” used here (zogron) is rare in the New Testament but means “to catch alive.”

Of course, fishing with nets was a matter of catching fish alive, but those live fish would soon be dead. Here Jesus calls Simon and his partners to a new vocation of catching people so that they might live, a life-giving vocation of being caught up in God’s mission of salvation for all.

That is true evangelism; it isn’t to bring dead people into a building, but to bring real life.

They are minding their own business, cleaning their nets after a long, particularly discouraging night of work, when Jesus comes along, enters into their utterly normal, mundane lives and changes everything. A day they will never forget. A day they will look back and think everything changed that day.

Jesus does not ask Simon to get his act together, his CV prepared, and then come back for an interview. Rather, Jesus encounters him as he is, tells him not to be afraid, and calls him to a new mission of bringing people into the kingdom.

Jesus’ word to Simon Peter is also a word to us: “Do not be afraid.” This is Jesus’ mission, and we trust that he will keep working with us and through us, “catching” others as he has caught us — in the deep, wide net of God’s mercy and love.


  • Where do you long to see God break into your day-to-day life?
  • Who are you praying for / sharing the gospel with at the moment? Take some time now to pray for them to encounter Jesus today.
Page last updated: Tuesday 1st February 2022 9:37 AM
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