It came out of nowhere. One moment Jesus is teaching the crowd, the next he’s talking to the fisherman. With one breath Jesus is revealing the coming of the kingdom of God, with the next he says, “Go fishing.” And what grabs me this morning is Peter’s response to Jesus’ out-of-left-field request.
You know Peter . . . the impetuous one. The guy who still, after 2,000 years, is known for his tendency to pull the trigger before he aims the gun. The guy we often roll our eyes at because so often he acted first and thought later. But this morning, as I read in Luke, this one born Simon Bar-Jonah shines. Not because he moved slower. Not because he thought it out first. But because when Jesus said, “Do it!” He did it. He let down the nets.
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.” (Luke 5:4-5 ESV)
“At Your word I will let down the nets.” Bam!!! That’s what we’re talking about. Jesus said do it, and Peter did it.
Didn’t make much sense to the experienced fisherman. Fishing was done at night . . . not during the day. And they had just been out all night . . . nothing, nada, zilch, big goose egg to show for their labors. But Jesus said, “Put out into the deep” and so Peter put out.
It’s not because Peter expected to land the big one, but because He was learning what it meant to follow the Master. It wasn’t because he thought it was a particularly good idea to fish, but was starting to learn that it was always a very good idea to have faith. And so when Jesus said,”Fish,” Peter fished.
They had toiled all night and took nothing. They had already given it their best shot and come up empty. They had executed “plan A” and all they had to show for it were wet nets. They had been up all night and were tired. And it’s then that Jesus says, “Try again.”
Your best plans, your best efforts have come up short, says the Master, but it’s My work. “Put out into the deep” one more time and behold the power of My word.
And behold they did. So many fish filled the nets that they were breaking. So many fish that Peter had to call for help. So many fish that they not only filled Peter’s boat but another boat as well. So many fish that Peter was compelled to fall before the feet of Jesus and saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”
Peter exercised a bit of “blind faith,” and was given eyes to see the holiness of God. The greater catch that day wasn’t the net full of fish, but the heart-full awareness of the glory of Christ. And all because Jesus spoke and Peter listened. All because Jesus asked and Peter complied. All because Peter heard the Word speak the word and that was enough for Him to obey the Word.
Oh for such Peter-like impetuosity. To know when to calculate less and believe more. To respond in faith . . . just because Jesus says, “Let down your nets.”
By His grace, for His glory.