Luke 5:8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” (NKJV)
What did Peter see? He saw in spite of his doubt, when he did things the Lord’s way, blessing followed. This brought a response of brokenness and humility in Peter because he realized that his sinful pride had caused him to doubt the Lord.
Peter and the boys had been fishing all night. Hadn’t caught a thing. Now, this Carpenter is telling him to go back out and do the same thing again and expect a different result. Peter at least had the respect for Jesus to compel him to obey. But you have to believe that he considered it a complete waste of time.
Luke 5:5 But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” (NKJV)
Peter’s words were not untruthful, nor disrespectful. They even had a hint of submissiveness in them. But you can almost hear him thinking “what a waste of time. I’m a professional fisherman. You’re a carpenter, what do you know about fishing? I have worked these waters all night and there is nothing to be caught. But, I’ll be a good disciple and obey. I tried to tell Him. I guess there is some lesson He’s going to teach us about empty nets when we get done.” So he said to Jesus in essence, “okay, if you say so, I guess I’ll do it, but we’re not going to catch anything.”
Peter’s disbelief is obvious because He didn’t prepare for a catch at all, much less a big catch. He had to make an emergency call to his co-workers to come help. He didn’t expect to need help.
Luke 5:6 And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. (NKJV)
There are a great many lessons in this verse.
- The Lord controls all creation. Animals, elements and the universe respond to His every wish.
- When the Lord demonstrates His power, it is always in extraordinary fashion. They didn’t just a catch a few fish, or even a “good” amount… they caught an unbelievable amount! So much so that the Lord’s blessing could not be contained and spilled out all around.
- The Lord is often merciful despite our unbelief, blessing us for our potential faith, not our current faith.
- The Lord rewards our obedience and our willingness to surrender to His direction even when we doubt.
To his credit, Peter responds with a quality we should all have: a soft and contrite heart (Psalms 51.17) that quickly recognized his sin had caused him to doubt Jesus. Peter’s heart of repentance and humility would serve him well at the time of his denial of Christ. Judas lacked this quality, and chose suicide over the mercy of Christ (Matt 27.5).
Many times we suffer toil and heartache because we labor in our own strength with life’s troubles. Then we finally give up after exhausting our own abilities, and “give God a chance”.
We doubt that anything will ever change
because we have already tried “everything”.
Peter had fished all night and caught nothing. Though he was a talented, successful fisherman, he caught nothing. What trial or defeat are you facing today? Have you tried everything? Are you quite sure that there is nothing that will ever change the problems you face? If yes, you’d be wrong.
Luke 5:9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; (NKJV)
Like Peter, the Lord is ready for you to turn to Him, to have faith and respond in obedience to His leading. Unlike Peter, you don’t need to doubt that the Lord’s answer to your troubles is exactly the perfect answer.
1 Peter 5:7 …casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. (NKJV)
We have the opportunity to turn to the Lord immediately in complete faith and trust at the moment a trial faces us. At the crossroads of trust, we choose ourself and face possible shame, or choose God and rest in peace He will guide us safely.
For those times when we choose the wrong road, when our stubbornness keeps us straining in our own effort until we finally turn to God… may we be ashamed and humbled by our sinful pride that causes us to toil and doubt. Above all, let’s learn our lesson and choose God first from now on.
Heavenly Fahter, You never cease to amaze us with Your abundance of blessing and goodness. Forgive us when we trust ourselves before turning to You. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Contemplation: How many times has God not done what He said He would do? Why do you suppose we don’t instinctively and immediately turn to God in all circumstances?
Application: God is infinitely more capable of caring for us and handling our burdens than we are. He’s just waiting for us to figure it out.
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?