FAIR WARNING…. Today’s post is short. I admit it. But it must be done, because the next post in this series is one section, and it is LONG. I hope that you’ll be okay with getting a short post–at least this once. 🙂
Simon Peter’s Call
Though Peter was first introduced to Jesus by his brother, Andrew, and spent several months following Jesus through Galilee, Jerusalem, and Judea before returning to Galilee (seeing several miracles, and baptizing many people while he was at it),1 Peter’s official call didn’t happen until perhaps a year or more after meeting the Lord.
It was on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, near his boat, that Simon was washing his nets,2 when Jesus climbs into the boat and asks him to “thrust out a little from the land.” Simon complies, climbing into the ship with Jesus and moving the boat a little ways from the shore. Simon looks at the shoreline and sees a huge mass of people, all in rapt attention to what Jesus has to say to them. Having followed Jesus for some time, hearing Him teach, seeing Him work wonders, Simon knew exactly how the people felt.
After Jesus finishes speaking to the crowds, He spoke to Peter, telling him to “launch out into the deep,” and then he says to both Simon and Andrew, “let down your nets for a catch.”3 They obey, and the amount of fish that in the net is so incredibly massive that they can’t pull it into their boat. In fact, they have to call another ship (belonging to Zebedee) over to help them take in the catch—and even then, both boats are so overloaded with fish that they begin to sink!
Peter, seeing what is happening, falls down at Jesus’ knees, proclaiming his unworthiness: “Depart from me, for I’m a sinful man, o Lord.”4 But Jesus tells him, “Don’t be afraid. From now on, you will catch men [be fishers of men].”5 And from that point, Peter leaves everything and follows Jesus.6
-Bradley S. Cobb
1 All of these events can be found in the first four chapters of John.
2 Vincent says that this washing was of the “sand and pebbles accumulated during the night’s work.” (see note on Luke 5:2).
3 Luke 5:4. The command to “launch out” is singular, given to Peter. The command to “let down your nets” is plural, thus Jesus speaks to the whole crew—primarily, this would be Simon and Andrew.
4 Luke 5:8.
5 Luke 5:10; Mark 1:17.
6 Luke 5:11; see also Luke 18:28. Peter still apparently owned his fishing boat, for after the resurrection, he said, “I’m going fishing” and several disciples joined him in the boat (John 21:1-ff). It’s probable, then, that Peter allowed his father (if his father was still alive) or perhaps Zebedee to use his boat to continue in the fishing business.