Fishers of Men
Our narrative from yesterday continues in Luke 5:7-11 - "So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them [since their net was breaking from the exceedingly large number of fish they had caught]. And they came and filled both boats, 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 and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, 'Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.' So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed him."

Peter and Andrew signaled their partners, who were in the other boat, for help (i.e., James and John, 5:10). It would seem likely that some fish escaped the net as it was breaking, but there were still so many fish caught that both boats were filled and "they began to sink" (5:7).

This miracle had an immediate effect upon Peter's spirit. He knew enough about fishing to know that this catch of fish was God's power at work. There was no other logical explanation as far as Peter was concerned. He fell down on his knees and asked the Lord to depart from him--"I am a sinful man, O Lord!" (5:8). His request to Jesus shows how deeply the miracle impressed him. Although it is unlikely at this point that Peter understood the deity of Jesus, nevertheless, this amazing feat gave Peter some sense of the divine presence. It overwhelmed his pliable heart, as it would anyone with such a spirit.

The response that any rational person would have under such circumstances would be astonishment. Certainly they had never seen anything like this before. It would have been an amazing sight at any time, but especially after the fact that they had labored all night and hadn't caught anything!

In verse 10, Jesus denied Peter's request and told him not to be afraid. He affirmed that from then on they would catch men (cf. Mark 1:17). Jesus wants them to be His constant companions. They would, at a later time, be made apostles (Luke 6:12,13). It should be noted according to the wording in Mark's account that they are not yet ready to be "fishers of men," but Jesus would help them become such. There are several points of resemblance between the old and the new calling for these men; namely, these disciples would be fisherman and human souls the fish, the world would be the sea and the gospel the net, and finally, eternal life would be the shore where the catch would be drawn.

The narrative closes with them forsaking everything and following Him. They left their jobs, their homes, their families, and their possessions behind. Essentially, they walked away from what they knew and loved. But, why did they do it? Did they want to please Jesus or were they just very curious? Did they believe Him to be the Messiah or were they hopeful that tremendous physical benefits would be in store for them as close associates of His (cf. Matt. 19:27)? Whatever their reasons, they prove their worthiness to be His "fishermen" by leaving everything behind (cf. Matt. 16:24).

These four men would: (1) learn how to become fishers of men, (2) receive practical experience in fishing for men under His oversight (Matt. 10:5-7), and (3) be given the Great Commission to go into all the world "fishing" for souls and training other "fishermen" (Matt. 28:18-20).

Although none of us personally witnessed this amazing catch of fish, and although none of us can be apostles of Jesus today, we can and should become "fishers of men"! These miracles were recorded that we might believe even today (John 20:30,31), and the Great Commission is as binding upon us as it was upon the apostles. May all disciples of Jesus Christ take their responsibility seriously to share the gospel message with the world!