And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. 3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. 4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. 5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless, at thy word I will let down the net. 6 And when they had this done, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. 7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. 9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: 10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. 11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.
Jesus after departing from the crowds that thronged him in Capernaum, came into the region of Genesaret which is a city located on the northwest coast of Lake Tiberias. These were probably an oft forgotten people who had learned to live with misery and great sorrow. Little did they know that the Prophet Isaiah had prophesied specifically about this day in Is 9:2. We read about it in Matthew’s account of this period of Jesus ministry:
Matthew 4:12-16: Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; 13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: 14 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, 15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; 16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.
As the crowds kept increasing Jesus found himself at the edge of the lake with no place to stand and teach the people anymore! It is at this point that Jesus sees two empty boats nearby with the fishermen who operated them on the shore cleaning the nets. He gets into one of their boats and asked its owner – Simon Peter to put out a little from the land so that He can teach from Peter’s boat. Peter complies, and Jesus completes that day’s ministry from Peter’s boat.
We see the context of Peter and his friends in verses 2 and 5. After toiling all night and catching nothing, the men were probably worried how they would provide food for their families that day. However here are several things that we can glean from this passage of scripture:
· If you give Jesus enough room in your life, so that he has freedom to sit in your boat and converse with you, you are in for a treat!
· Notice how at first Jesus asks Peter to put out a little from the shore and how in the very next verse (v4), Jesus asks Peter to put out into the deep and let down his nets for a catch.
o If you can be obedient to the Lord in little things, He can use you for greater things!
o The Lord may not reveal his entire blueprint and plan for your life. He instead chooses to let you know the next step you need to take. If you are faithful in listening to and obeying his immediate word to you, He will tell you next steps leading to greater things as you go along!
o We all know Ps 109:105 which says “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” What is interesting to note is that the light from a lantern that was used in those old days was just sufficient for a man walking in darkness to see the next 1-2 steps he needed to take. For direction he would need to fix his eyes on the horizon where he could see the lights from the town that he was travelling to. The same is true for us – the Lord directs us with enough light for the next step we need to take, but we need to fix our eyes on Him, the eternal light for us to reach our intended destinations.
· When Peter was happy to let Jesus make use of his empty unproductive boat, Jesus was attentive to the unspoken need Peter and his friends had for a catch of fish! If you are toiling in the flesh, and not finding satisfaction, come to the Lord today and find rest as you engage in building His Kingdom here on earth!
· The importance of the lesson from verse 5 can never be overstated. Please note that Peter and his friends had just spent the last hour cleaning and stretching the nets out. Letting down the nets again for a catch could appear to be more futile effort – every fisherman knew that you can’t catch any fish during the heat of the day! However, when Peter was able to keep aside his experience of fishing in that same lake for the last few decades, when he could disregard logic and technique that every fisherman knows is the basis for catching fish, when he could instead trust and obey the words of the itinerant Rabbi from Galilee, his life was radically altered.
Can we like Peter keep aside our intellect and prejudices and say “Master… at your word I will let down the nets”?
Do you know the word of the Lord for this season of your life? If not, you may ask the Lord to reveal it to you and He will. How we need this word to hold on to! One word from the Lord can change our lives and our destinies for ever!