Have you ever felt like you were face-to-face with the Savior? How would you know? I think we get a good picture of what that is like in this miracle.
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 way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the people 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 and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.”
When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, 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 so 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 men.”
When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.
– Luke 5:1-11, NASB
Our Lord had a purpose in everything He did that day. He always does. He was by those boats intentionally. He stepped into Simon’s boat for a reason. And then when He was done with His message, He spoke to Simon directly, for it was Simon He needed to reach. The Lord is the same way with us. He has chosen us. He has prepared a place for us. And we aren’t His by accident or chance. We are His by His sovereign will. If you’ve ever felt alone, if you’ve ever felt like no one cared about you, if you feel this way now, realize that God does care. God does love you. God hasn’t given up on you. In fact, He chose to make you one of His children. It was done on purpose.
Something else we can learn from this miracle is that He can give us success, even when everything we’ve done has met with failure. When we lean on our own power, when we trust in ourselves when we should be trusting in Him, we can find ourselves unable to accomplish the very things we believe He wants us to do. The key there is who we trusted. We trusted us. And despite our best efforts, we are imperfect. We don’t know everything. We don’t see everything. And we certainly can’t be everywhere. But He can and He is. And if we’d trust Him a bit more, we’d see that we’d have a lot more successes than failures. After all, God gave us Himself. And so long as we are acting in accordance with His will, He has promised to provide everything we need, if we only ask.
Now stop and think about both of those things for a moment. Think about what they say about our Savior. Then compare where He is versus where we are. For us it is so easy to be too busy for the people around us. And we certainly can’t always turn other people’s failures into successes. Not when we can’t be successful under our own strength. But God does both and He does so completely. We are so far away from Him it is beyond measure. And that’s where Simon Peter was. That’s why he asked Jesus to go away and that’s why he pointed to his own sinfulness. We’re no different than Peter. A perfect and righteous God has willing sacrificed Himself for a bunch of imperfect vagabonds corrupted by sin. And yet He says He wants to be our Savior and our friend. How can we stand before that? How can we or do anything but kneel before Him as our Sovereign and Liege? That’s where Peter was as at.
Then Jesus extended His call. This was His point all along. There were four men here who needed to hear it: Peter, Andrew, James, and John. Notice what their reaction was. They hit dry land and then walked away from what they knew. They left behind their jobs. They left behind their families. They set everything aside to follow Christ. In our busy lives how close do we come to repeating their example? If we get to where Peter found himself, when Jesus extends His call, that’s how we’ll respond. Or perhaps Jesus extended His call to Peter because He knew Peter would see his own sinfulness and then follow without regret or reservation. Something to think about.