Jesus: Fishing for People (Part 1)

Bob RoaneJesus Christ, Prison Ministry

Peter said: I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth….And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember. (2 Peter 1:12-15)

The word disciple means learner or pupil. As the soldier follows their general, as the servant follows their master, as the scholar follows their teacher, as sheep follow their shepherd, so Christians follow Christ. In Luke 5:1-11, Jesus calls His first disciples and Peter learns to be a learner. Lord, teach us the same!

Jesus Takes the Gospel Everywhere

Christ was standing by the Sea of Galilee and people crowded around on the beach, gladly listening to Him teach the Scriptures. They were amazed at His gracious words. He taught with Spirit-anointed, God-given authority, unlike the scribes. Christ was the Final Prophet promised long ago and His true teaching is necessary to steer us away from dangerous ditches of falsehood. People asked, “Where did Jesus get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? How could He be so profound with little formal education?” At one point, the Lord got into Peter’s fishing boat, sat down, and continued teaching from there.

Christ Jesus is the wisdom from God who came down from Heaven to be fully God and fully human in one person to make us right with God. He makes us pure and holy and frees us from our sins.1 His teaching is spiritual food for our souls. It is perfect, incomparable, majestic, and effective (it works when we trust and obey). Jesus embodied all the Old Testament Scriptures because they predicted and prefigured Him. No other person has ever spoken like Christ.2

The Lord didn’t wait for people to come to the synagogue or temple. Jesus went to them and preached in the open air. He came to Earth to gather those He came to save. Later on Jesus told us, “Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full….Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”3 Let’s do what we can, where we are, to help people become Christians and grow as Jesus’ disciples.

Christ Calls for Unquestioned Obedience

When Jesus finished His message He told Peter, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Peter answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” Peter thought that midday was the wrong time to catch anything in deeper places. But Peter had already seen the Lord perform miracles, so Peter decided it was safe to surrender to Jesus. When Christ turned the water into wine at Cana, Mary told the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.”4 That’s always the best thing for us to do.

Sometimes the Lord’s commands in Scripture don’t make sense to us either. We must not doubt, but rather be confident that the Lord knows what He’s doing and bend ourselves to His plans and directions. Jesus’ followers are to live by faith, not by sight, for God takes no pleasure in those who quit.5 What seems right and reasonable to us is not the key; yielding to Christ is the key. And we can’t lose in the long run. Psalm 19 says: “The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart and light to the eyes….And in keeping them there is great reward.”

Jesus Reveals His Deity

When they launched into deeper water and let down the nets, Christ gave them such a huge catch of fish that their nets began to break. Another boat came alongside to help and both boats were overloaded and began to sink. Jesus was right, as always! When Peter saw God’s miracle, he was so awestruck that he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” We’ll come back to Peter’s reaction next time. For now, let’s focus on Jesus’ deity.

Christ is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of God’s being, sustaining all things by His powerful word.6 He is more than a carpenter; Jesus is God! Peter calls Him Lord, Yahweh, the God of creation who made all things out of nothing and all very good. Christ who created fish in Genesis chapter 1, and feeds them day by day, now commands the fish into the nets. Jesus holds the fishes’ lives and our lives in the palms of His hands.

Job said that animals, birds, and fish all point us back to the Lord who created them. He made them and rules them.7 Now Jesus demonstrates that He is the Creator God!8 The Son of God is as completely God as if He were not human, as completely human as if He were not God. Jesus exactly represents and reflects His Father. He neither laid aside His deity when He came to Earth nor laid aside His humanity when He returned to Heaven to govern all things and intercede for us.

Christians believe that Jesus is God because: He claims to be God; He lived a sinless life; His supernatural works show He is God; and His resurrection from the dead demonstrated His deity. Jesus uncrowned Himself to crown us, put off His robes to put on our rags, came down from heaven to keep us out of hell. He fasted forty days that He might feast us to all eternity. He came from heaven to earth that He might bring us from Earth to Heaven.9

So we sing: Jesus! what a Friend for sinners! Jesus, Lover of my soul;
Friends may fail me, foes assail me, He, my Savior, makes me whole.
Hallelujah! what a Savior! Hallelujah, what a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving, He is with me to the end.10

To be continued

Notes: 1 1 Cor 1:18-31.     2 John 7:46.     3 Luke 14:23; Mark 16:15.     4 John 2:1-12.     5 Heb 10:38.     6 Heb 1:1-3.     7 Job 12:7-9.     8 See also John 1; Col 1; Heb 1.     9 Adapted from James M. Boice.     10 Hymn by J. Wilbur Chapman.