“One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret,
the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God.
He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen,
who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats,
the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore.
Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon,
‘Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.’ 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.’ When they had done so,
they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.
So, they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them,
and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said,
‘Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!’”
Luke 5:1-8 (NIV)
Our Lord was making the busy town of Capernaum His headquarters for the Galilean ministry. Influence by the Pharisees was minimal there and so Jesus could preach the Good News freely. As an international center Jesus could readily preach to various nationalities who could take the good news to their own people. A generous gift from a Roman centurion paid for a synagogue in Capernaum.
Fishing on the Lake of Gennesaret was normally done during the night and the fishermen would come to shore at dawn. The people living near the lake would come down early in the morning and buy a day’s worth of fish for their families. Hence a crowd of shoppers gathered around Jesus as He began to teach. Seeking a better place from which to teach, Jesus got into one of Peter’s boats, moved it out into shallow water, and sat down to speak to the people. In Jesus’ day, the rabbi stood to read the Torah and sat to teach.
When Jesus finished His message, He asked Peter to take the boat out into deeper water to cast the net for a catch of fish. Peter’s response is wonderful. He explained to Jesus that he had fished during the best time to fish which was night without success. Then he said, “But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” This is a wonderful act of obedience when he did not understand His Master’s instructions. Peter deserves high praise for trusting His Master under confusing instructions. He was suitably rewarded for his obedience.
When we get into a situation like Peter’s it is very easy to try and back away. However, we should heed David when he wrote in Psalm 23:3-4 (NIV)
“He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.”