Summary: Up until this "fishing trip" with Jesus, Peter has only had a casual relationship with Christ. On this day, Jesus challenged him with the question: "Are you gonna talk, or are you gonna fish?"
OPEN: There’s an old joke about two fishermen out in a boat. The day was calm and the lake was isolated enough that they were the only fishermen there. The first man baited his hook, threw it into the water and watched the bobber bob on the waves. Suddenly there was a terrific explosion just a couple feet off the portside of the boat. In a few moments dead fish were floating to the surface and his companion was frantically scooping them in with a net.
He was about to ask his friend what had happened, when he saw his friend light a piece of dynamite and throw it into the water… followed by another terrible explosion.
“What do you think you’re doing?” he shouted.
“Fishing” the guy replied.
“But you can’t do that… that’s illegal.”
At this point, his friend lit another stick of dynamite threw into his lap and said: Hey, you gonna talk, or you gonna fish?”
APPLY: It’s probably only been a few weeks since Jesus first met Peter. The Gospel of John tells us that Peter had first been introduced to Jesus by his brother Andrew And in the previous chapter of Luke (Luke 4:32) Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law.
As I examined these pieces of information, I realized something I’d never seen before. Up until this time (in Luke 5) Peter has been a “part timer”. He “knew” Jesus - probably had spent some time with Him – but Peter’s relationship with Christ was casual and uncommitted. He was kind of like a laid back church-goer.
I can picture him listening to Jesus for awhile and then going back to work. If he needed Jesus for anything special, he’d give Him a call. And if Jesus had need of anything from him, he was more than happy to oblige. Kind of like on this day at the lake.
Peter and his friends have been out fishing all night, and now they’re up on the shore cleaning their nets. It’s been a rough night - they’ve worked hard - but they haven’t caught a blessed thing but then Jesus along comes and things get interesting real quick.
A crowd has gathered to hear Jesus speak and as Jesus preaches, it becomes obvious that the gathering multitude is going to get too big for Him to speak to properly from the shore. So, Jesus gets into Simon’s boat and asks him to put out into the water a little. And of course, Peter’s more than happy to oblige.
Jesus preaches some more… and then the crowds go home.
It’s now about midday. Jesus turns to Peter and says – take your boat out into deep water and let down your net.
Now, there’s all kinds of reasons Peter could have given for not doing this:
First – Jesus isn’t a fisherman. He’s a just a preacher. He’s a nice guy, but when it comes to fishing, Jesus should leave the heavy lifting to guys like Peter and his friends.
Secondly, it’s the wrong time of the day for fishing… it’s too hot
And besides, Peter and his friends are tired… they’ve been out all night
But Peter doesn’t belittle or make fun of Jesus over this infringement on his time. I mean, Jesus isn’t the kind of friend you make fun of. So, Peter just says… “Look I’m tired, I’ve been out all night. Nevertheless, because you have asked me to… (sigh) I’ll do it”
He puts out to deep water… lets down his net… and he can’t hardly get it back up!!!
There’s so many fish in the net that the net began to break
Peter calls the other men in the boat to help, but they can’t handle the nets by themselves… so they call to the other boat that’s on shore to come out. Even between them they have problems because the fish they bring on board nearly swamps both of their boats.
Peter and his friends are all astonished by the amount of fish they’ve hauled in..
Peter falls on his knees and declares himself to be a sinner… and they all decide to leave their boats and follow Jesus.
They went from talking about Jesus… to fishing with Him.
So, are you gonna talk… or you gonna fish? (pause)
Essentially that’s the question Jesus put to Peter, Andrew, James and John.
Jesus knew how they viewed Him.
He knew that they regarded Him as a pleasant diversion in their lives.
They were “comfortable” with Him
They had probably EVEN spent a little time – kind of like a little Bible study while cleaning their nets – discussing His teachings and what they liked about Him.
But up until that day… it had been all talk
On this day, Jesus called them to action