Called to Significance

Luke 5:1-11

I. The Call of the

Disciples (Luke 5:1-3)

From the hills of Nazareth, the story moves to the fishing villages of Capernaum and Bethsaida on the northern shore of Lake Galilee. The fishermen brothers Peter and Andrew had already met Jesus and accepted him as the Messiah. So too, it seems, had another pair of fishermen brothers, James and John (see John 1:35-42). Jesus now asked the four men to take the further step of leaving their occupations so that they could become his followers in the task of bringing people into the kingdom of God (Mark 1:16-20). (Flemming)

Notably, Luke described the Sea of Galilee as a lake, as most of His readers would have thought of it. Gennesaret was the town and plain on its northwest coast from which it received its name. Luke’s characteristic attention to detail is obvious in that he referred to two boats, setting the stage for Luke 5:7. (Constable)

II. Fishing in Deep Waters at the Command of Jesus (Luke 5:4-7)

Interestingly, Luke alone specified that Simon and his companions were “fishermen” (Greek, “halieus,” — Luke 5:2). Consequently, Jesus’ command to launch out into the deep water for another try at fishing contrasts Jesus’ authority with the natural ability of these men. Peter’s compliance shows his great respect for Jesus that led to obedience and ultimately to a large catch of fish. “Master” (Greek, “epistata”) is Luke’s equivalent for “teacher” or “rabbi.” Luke never used the term “rabbi,” probably because it would have had little significance for most Greek readers. “Master” is a term that disciples or near disciples used of Jesus (Luke 8:24, 45; 9:33, 49), and it indicates submission to authority. Luke is the only Gospel evangelist who used this term, and wherever it appears it refers to Jesus.

Evidently, the fishermen had used large dragnets (Greek, “diktau”) when they had fished all night, which Zebedee, James, and John were now washing and mending (Matthew 4:21; Mark 1:19; Luke 5:2). Peter and Andrew were using a smaller round casting net (Greek, “amphibleston”), throwing it into the water from close to shore (Matthew 4:18; Mark 1:16).

The theologian Joseph Benson, in his commentary of the text, believed that, “When he (Jesus) had left speaking, he said unto Simon” — who was the owner of the boat, and his own disciple — “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught” — Christ intended by the multitude of fishes, which he would make Simon catch, to show him the success of his future preaching, even in cases where little success was reasonably to be expected.

III. Catching Peter’s Attention (Luke 5:8-9)

Benson further explained that by a signal miracle our Lord: Firstly, showed his dominion in the seas as well as on the dry land; and that he was that Son of man under whose feet all things were put. Secondly, Jesus confirmed the doctrine he had just preached out of Peter’s ship, and proved that he was at least a preacher come from God. Thirdly, He repaid Peter for the loan of his boat; and that Christ’s recompenses for services done to his name would be abundant. And lastly, the Savior hereby gave a specimen to those who were to be his ambassadors to the world, of the success of their ambassadorship; that though they might for a time, and in some particular places, toil and catch nothing, yet, in time, they should be made the instruments of enclosing many in the gospel net, and bringing them to Christ and salvation.

IV. Walking Away from a Miracle (Luke 5:10-11)

“And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all,” (verse 11) — Doubtless, before this the disciples entertained a high idea of their Master, as they believed him to be the Messiah, and had followed him, (John 1:43); till now, however, they did not forsake all, but continued to work at their ordinary calling. But this miracle of the fishes was such a striking demonstration of his power, that from this time they left their vessels and nets, nay, and all they had in the world, neglecting all they had taken, and became his constant followers; being henceforward more solicitous to serve the interest of his kingdom than to advance any secular interests of their own. Observe here the wonderful choice which Jesus makes of those who were to be the chief ministers in his kingdom!

It must be remembered, however, that he did not “go to call them that stood all the day idle (reference Matthew 20:3);” but, on the contrary, conferred this honor upon honest industry; on them that had been toiling all the night in the proper duties of their station and profession in life.

The religious writer Philip Doddridge, whose writings led William Wilberforce to become a Christian, once stated that followers of Christ should “pursue our business with vigilance and resolution; assuring ourselves, that, however toilsome it might be, Christ will graciously accept us in it. Thusly, let us fix our dependence on the Savior’s blessing as absolutely necessary to our success.”

The hymnologists J.S. Norris and E.W. Blandly said it best:

Where he leads me I will follow

Where he leads me I will follow

Where he leads me I will follow

I’ll go with Him, with Him all the way.

{strong}Christ in the Text: And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. — Luke 5:10b

Church Supply Pastor and Christian columnist, Dr. Wayne M. Williams, presently resides in Athens with his wife of 39 years, Lita. For additional study notes, see the Facebook page International Sunday School Lessons.

Church Supply Pastor and Christian columnist, Dr. Wayne M. Williams, presently resides in Athens with his wife of 39 years, Lita. For additional study notes, see the Facebook page International Sunday School Lessons.

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