Summary: Third in series on the miracles of Jesus. The Miracle catch of Fish.
Lesson # 3
“The Miracle Catch of Fish”
Each of the Synoptic Gospels gives an account of Jesus’ call of the disciples. Each writer portrays that a call of few fishermen on the shore of the Sea of Galilee to be his disciples a little differently. Some were mending nets while others still trying to catch a few fish by casting their nets from the shore (Matt 5:18-21). Only Luke’s gospel went into detail about what happened that day and only Luke’s Gospel records the miracle catch of fish.
The Background of the Miracle (vv. 1-4)
“So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, (2) and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. (3) Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. (4) When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, "Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch."
According to Matthew and Mark the call of the disciples came after the miracles that Jesus performed at Peter’s house in Capernaum. This is important to realize or we might have the impression that Jesus just happened to be by the Sea of Galilee (Luke calls it Lake Gennesaret) where he invited four strangers to become his disciples. But that is not how it happened at all.
It is highly likely that these men had been witnesses of the miracles that Jesus performed in Jerusalem prior to returning to Galilee. They would have no doubt been in the synagogue in Capernaum. So Jesus’ call to discipleship is no spontaneous invitation to strangers, but a reasoned response to a well timed invitation. Jesus had already invested significant time in to building a relationship with these men prior to their call to service.
These men understood well what the life of a disciple entailed; the disciple would live with the teacher for a period of a few years in an effort to master all that the teacher knew and to be like him as much as possible. It was to just such a rigorous life that Jesus’ was inviting these four fishermen to enter into.
The Elements of the Miracle (vv. 4-5)
Simon had been washing and mending his
nets, while keeping one ear listening to what Jesus was teaching. After all he had other responsibilities and duties to perform. He had to fish to make a living for his family. Jesus’ call for Simon to launch out into deeper water is an analogy of what He wants to do in Simon’s life. Jesus is going to take Simon Peter to deeper, more personal commitment to Himself.
The Command of Jesus (vv.4-5a)
“When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, "Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch. (5) “But Simon answered and said to Him, "Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing;…”
It seems that in almost every conversation involving Jesus and the disciples, Peter is the first to speak, to voice an opinion, he however is not always right. (Matt 16:22-23, 26:33-34). On this occasion Peter seems to say out loud what all of the disciples are probably thinking.