Luke 5:10b-11 Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
Picture yourself a fisherman. That is your livelihood. You and your partners have just spent the entire night fishing and come up empty. You’re on shore washing your nets when this new friend, a carpenter by background who is doing some amazing things comes up with a crowd around him listening to him teaching.
He sees two boats at water’s edge and gets into one of them – yours – and asks you to push it out a bit. He then sits down and teaches from the boat. When he finishes speaking (to the crowd) he says to you, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” I wonder what goes through your mind at that moment; maybe something like, “Yea – right!”
Maybe you roll your eyes, but who he is gets the better of you – although you do let him know the facts of the situation. “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.
Maybe you’re thinking that he should stick to what he knows. Even so, you go along with it. All of a sudden you and your companions catch such a large number of fish that the nets began to break. You signal your partners in the other boat to come and help, and they come and both boats are filled so full of fish that they began to sink.
To say everyone is astonished is an understatement! But this strikes you in a unique way. This is a miracle and it involved you. You’re struck by your own unworthiness to be in the presence of something divine. You fall at his knees and say, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”
But instead of listening to you, he says something far more profound that what you’ve just experienced! These words come from his mouth addressed to you, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.” The group of you that hear this, pull your boats up on shore, leave everything and follow him.
The marvelous thing about this story is that Jesus is inserting himself into the everyday lives and situations of his followers today – just as he did then. He will do something to get our attention – causing us to turn aside and focus upon him.
We might not understand everything that is going on but we know it is Him. Then he calls us to be fishers of men – just as he did with them by the shore. And we get to follow Jesus just as they did into the callings he has for us.