Don’t Be Afraid: From Now You Will Fish For People – Luke 5:1-11

Don't Be Afraid: From Now You Will Fish For People - Luke 5:1-11
Don't Be Afraid: From Now You Will Fish For People - Luke 5:1-11

Luke 5:1-11

It was an unfruitful outing for Peter and his friends. They spent the whole night toiling to catch fish but it was all to no avail. They were professional fishermen, so this must have been very devastating and frustrating for them.

When it was day, Jesus happened to be by the lake where Peter and his friends just experienced an all-night failure. The people wanted to hear Jesus speak and Jesus sought to sit in Peter’s boat so he could preach to the crowd. Not minding his current problem, Peter allowed Jesus to use his boat to preach to the people.

When Jesus was done preaching, he asked Peter to try to catch fish one more time. Peter reluctantly obeyed this instruction and voila! A net-breaking miracle happened. Peter caught so many fishes that his boat began to sink. This miracle led to the call of Peter and his friends as the first disciples of Jesus. What a glorious occurrence.

There are so many lessons to learn from this story in which Peter had a huge comeback from his failure. Let’s consider a few of them in this article:

Failure Is Not Fatal

When we experience failure, we must always remind ourselves that failure is not fatal and final. The best comeback to failure is massive success. The Bible tells us that it is not in the character of a just man to give up. When he falls seven times, he will surely rise again (Proverbs 24:16).

How we conduct ourselves after a huge disappointment is very crucial to our success. God always looks upon us to see how we will conduct ourselves when things don’t go our way. In these moments, we must learn to trust God and remain calm without complaining or grudging. We must learn to encourage ourselves in the Lord like David did after he just lost his wives and properties at Ziklag (1 Samuel 30:6). Little wonder he was able to recover all he lost after this (1 Samuel 30:19).

Imagine what would have happened if Peter was so devastated that he did not allow Jesus to preach from his boat. What if Peter decided not to obey the words of Jesus asking him to try again? How about if Peter decided not to try one more time after many failed attempts in the night? How sad it would have been if Peter listened to all the voices telling him that he was a failure and that he could never make it again? Just imagine what would have happened if Peter decided to give up after a night of failure and tears.

He would have missed out on several miracles without even knowing it. Much more than the miracle that happened after Peter hosted Jesus in his boat, God had a whole life already planned out for Peter with that miracle being the link to it all. Had Peter given up that morning, we might probably not be reading about all the great exploits he performed as an Apostle of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Are you on the verge of giving up now? Resist that urge now! Just like Peter, God has got a glorious future planned out for you. If you give up, you will miss all God has planned. You never know what you could have missed if you gave up unless you hang on!

Nevertheless, At Thy Word

What was the game-changer for Peter? A simple but direct instruction from Jesus: “Launch out into the deep.” When Jesus gave this instruction, Peter had the choice of obeying it or not. Peter could have resolved that the words of Jesus will have no effect because of his past experiences.

However, Peter dared to believe the impossible and he received a net-breaking miracle that day. You will never see the impossible happen except you dare to believe it.

No matter how powerful the words of Jesus were that day, it would have made no difference if Peter did not obey them. When we allow our past experiences to define our realities, it will be difficult for us to obey God’s word. God’s word will only profit those who obey it (James 1:22-25).

Despite your past failures or setbacks, dare to believe and obey God’s word again. God’s word never fails. No matter what you have faced in the past, Jesus says to you today: “Launch out into the deep one more time.” You can either choose to hold on to your past experiences or to believe him. The choice is yours!

A Ministry From A Miracle

Here’s the most exciting part of the miracle of the overflow that Peter got in this story. That miracle was just the beginning. For Peter, that was the biggest miracle he had ever seen and he thought nothing could ever be bigger than that. However, God was just starting with him. From the very spot of the miracle, Jesus called Peter to become his disciple and it was from one miracle to another from then on. Peter received a miracle, but God gave him a ministry along with it. The very thing that caused him sorrow shame set the stage for the ministry that God gave him.

Some years later, it was Peter that God used to reach out to people who were in his former position: broken and dejected. First God performed a miracle for Peter and then performed many miracles by his hands (Acts 5:15-16).

God is making a miracle out of your life also. Not only will he perform a miracle for you, but he will also give you a ministry that will bless people throughout your life. You might think you are a failure. Not so! From the very knockdown you had in the past, God will bring out a message that will bless people who have similar problems later in future. You might think that you are not making a headway: Guess what? Your miracle is on its way, and no matter how big it is, that will just be the start of it all!

King James Version (KJV)

“And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.

And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.

And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.

And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.

For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.

And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.”

New International Version (NIV)

“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!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.”

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

“Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.”

New American Bible (NASB)

“Now it happened that while the crowd was pressing around Him and listening to the word of God, He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret; and He saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake; but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little distance from the land. And He sat down and continued teaching the crowds from the boat. Now when He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon responded and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they caught a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to tear; so they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, to the point that they were sinking. But when Simon Peter saw this, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken; and likewise also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not fear; from now on you will be catching people.” When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.”

English Standard Version (ESV)

“On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “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 signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.”

The Living Bible (TLB)

“One day as he was preaching on the shore of Lake Gennesaret, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the Word of God. He noticed two empty boats standing at the water’s edge while the fishermen washed their nets. Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push out a little into the water, so that he could sit in the boat and speak to the crowds from there.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper and let down your nets and you will catch a lot of fish!”

“Sir,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, we’ll try again.”

And this time their nets were so full that they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.

When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, sir, please leave us—I’m too much of a sinner for you to have around.” For he was awestruck by the size of their catch, as were the others with him, and his partners too—James and John, the sons of Zebedee. Jesus replied, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for the souls of men!”

And as soon as they landed, they left everything and went with him.”