‘Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.’ And Simon answered, ‘Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at Your word I will let down the nets.’ And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking…They were all astonished at the catch of fish they had taken…’Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.’ Luke 5:1-11
This caught my attention today. It was our fishing opener last weekend. Our lake country is flooded with trucks pulling boats. So I can picture it. The guys had been fishing all night. No luck. I’ve had those days of fishing. I’m a fair weather fisher. My husband always says, “A bad day of fishing is better than a day at work,” but I still gauge my day of fishing on how many fish we come home with. I’m with Peter, “We toiled all night and took nothing!”
The disciples still aren’t sure of who this Jesus was. “But at Your word we’ll give it another try.” And, boom! There are so many fish both boats start to sink. My thought would be, “I’m sticking with this guy, he knows where the fish are.” But then Jesus says, From now on you’ll be catching men.
Catching men? They were still in awe about the huge catch of fish that just wasn’t there. And now this guy tosses in that they will be catching men? Jesus must have hooked them, because verse 11 tells us, And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.
Jesus knew where the fish were. He could take them to depths or catches that they couldn’t humanly do. Stick with Him and this could be the norm. Peter caught the bigness of the moment. He sunk to his knees and cried, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord. He knew that not just anyone could fill empty nets. Just wait Peter, I am going to fill those nets with people.
I am left with two thoughts spinning around in my head to mull over:
- Only Jesus can take me to the depths of life. If I listen to Him, He’ll tell me where to cast my net and I’ll catch fish where there weren’t fish before. Fish=people. Fish are temporal, people are eternal. I can fish all night on my own, but it’s not until He speaks and puts prompts on my heart to tell me who to go to and where that I am effective. That’s the gist of the abiding life described in John 15:5, Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. Take me out into the deep God! I need you to lead me. Dr. Seuss’ “Oh The Places You’ll Go” is nothing compared to the places Peter went, and we go, led out by the Spirit. Where do you want me to drop my nets today?
- From now on we’ll be catching people. That word ‘catching’ is zogreo in the Greek. Try to use that word in a sentence today at work to impress people (just kidding). It means to entrap or catch alive. It can mean to make a prisoner of war, like Satan does when used in 2 Timothy 2:26, that they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. Or it can mean to set people free from the trap they have been in. In other words, “From now on you will be catching people out of Satan’s trap, setting them free for God’s kingdom.” Some of those people that I know that are caught in traps are Christians. They aren’t free to do God’s will because they are stuck and aren’t running free. They have what 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 calls a stronghold (or two or three) in their life and it needs to be brought down. Others are nonChristians and they don’t know Jesus yet and need to call on His name first and foremost to get free. Who do you want me to help get out of a trap today?
Now, let’s go fishing!