Gone Fishing

Luke 5:4-5

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

I have spoken to many who have shared their conversion story with me. For some, their call from God was unexpected, out of the blue. They weren’t seeking spiritual enlightenment or calling upon God to be saved. They were, in a sense, minding their own business and going along the normal course of their day. 


This is what seems to happen to Simon Peter, James and John here in Luke 5. 

I found a verse hidden way back in Isaiah 65:1. These words from Isaiah prophesied this manner of unexpected conversions. God says through Isaiah: 


I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me. 

I said, ‘Here I am, here I am,’ to a nation that was not called by my name. 


In my book about amazing women in the bible, I tell the story of Adam’s unexpected conversion. 


The Unlikely Happened 

Sometimes the most unlikely people find Jesus. Or—better said—Jesus finds them….  

In 1981, I moved to Port Charlotte, Florida, to work with youth in the community. In my first week, I met an 18-year-old named Adam. He was introduced to me as a brand-new Christian. When I learned that he had no church experience or Christian background whatsoever, I asked him how he became a Christian. He told me a most unusual account of God’s amazing grace.     

Adam and his best friend Frank were the ringleaders of a group of guys who were nothing but trouble. Alcohol, drugs, and rebellion were among their usual activities. They were edging toward gang involvement and considering adding guns to their collection of stolen goods.   

A week before I met Adam, he and his group were smoking pot as they made plans for their evening. All of a sudden, one of them (they can’t recall who it was) said, “What are we doing?”   

The others looked confused.   

“What are we doing with our lives?” the same person asked.  

Partially buzzed, they nevertheless came to a unanimous conclusion: “Let’s stop wasting our lives. Let’s do something with them.”    


One of them said, “Let’s go talk to my dad. He’s a Christian, and maybe he can help us.”   

They walked away from their pot and went to find truth and meaning for their lives. The father shared the gospel that evening, and the guys prayed to receive Christ right then.    


I met Adam that first week at my new church… Adam began to attend my youth group, and Frank joined him soon after. I mentored and discipled Frank and Adam for the next three years.   

As of this writing, both Frank and Adam have been pastors for nearly 25 years. In their lifetime of service to God, each of them has impacted thousands of people for eternity. .    


Sometimes, the most unlikely people find Jesus. Or—better said—Jesus finds them.    


The Fishermen Are Caught 

Jesus went fishing in Luke 5. Just like Adam and Frank, Peter, James and John were minding their own business. They were in the business of fishing. But Jesus had different plans for the men. Jesus went fishing Himself and Peter, James and John were caught; hook, line and sinker. 

In the previous chapter, Luke 4, the people were pressing in on Jesus in order to be healed. The theme of the chapter was healing. But Luke added an important statement at the end of the healing service. He wrote in 4:43,  


But He (Jesus) said, ‘I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose. 


In Luke 19:10, Jesus proclaimed that His reason for coming to earth was to seek and save the lost. Jesus’s purpose on earth could be summed up with the following words:  

  • Preach (seek) 
  • Die and Rise (to save) 


But after Jesus ascends, the preaching needs to continue. Who is going to pick up the mantle of preaching the good news? Jesus begins the process of His plan to continue the preaching after He departs. In Luke 5, Jesus begins preparing others to carry on His ministry after He ascends back to heaven. 


The Calling of Peter, James and John 

Now it happened that while the crowd was pressing around Him and listening to the word of God… 

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 catch men.’ When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him. 


Chew on This 

The manner whereby Jesus calls one to follow Him is varied and unique. How did Jesus call you? 

  • Peter realized his sin before Jesus. At what point in your life did you realize that you were sinful before God? 
  • When God called you to Jesus, did you have a sense of amazement? 
  • Jesus called the men to fishers of men. Have you sensed a call from God to a certain ministry or service? 


Father, it is always astonishing how you save! You are a God of salvation. You love to save. Save our loved ones who are not following You. Draw them through your power in the most amazing and wonderful way. In Jesus, Amen!