Matthew 4:18-22; Luke 5:1-11; The Desire of Ages, pp. 244-251
I help others learn about Jesus when I follow His example.
“Come, follow me, . . . and I will send you out to fish for people ” (Matthew 4:19).
Have you ever watched people fish? They usually sit very still and wait. Simon Peter had been sitting in his boat all night and had not caught a thing. When Jesus told him to try again, he caught many fish! This is how it may have happened.
A cool night breeze blew over the waters of Lake Gennesaret. Simon Peter was fishing with his partners, James and John. He tossed his big fishing net out over the water. He heard a swishing sound and then a splat as it fell. Slowly, slowly, it sank beneath the surface of the water. Simon Peter checked the position of the moon and stars to tell the time. Soon the sun would be rising. And still he had not caught a single fish. James and John, in their own boat, weren’t catching anything either.
In a few minutes Simon Peter began to haul in the net hand over hand. He hoped to see the glimmer of fish in the moonlight. But there was nothing. He piled the dripping net into the back of the boat. Then he began to pull on the oars and head back to shore.
The sky began to change from black to pink. Simon Peter laid out his net and began to clean it. Jesus was standing on the shore surrounded by a crowd of people. He was telling them how much God loved them. The people really wanted to hear. They crowded so close to Jesus that He stepped into Simon Peter’s boat and continued to talk to the people. Simon Peter, no doubt, was happy to share his boat with Jesus.
After Jesus finished speaking to the people, He said to Simon Peter, “Take your boat out into the deep water, Simon Peter, and let down your nets.”
“Oh, Master,” Simon Peter replied. “I’ve been on this lake all night long with James and John. And we didn’t catch one fish!” He paused and thought for a minute. “But if You say so, I will try again.”
With a swishing sound the net flew up into the air. It landed with a splat on the water, then sank silently.
In a few minutes Simon Peter began to pull in the net. He could not believe it. The net was full of glimmering, writhing fish! It was so full that the net almost broke. Simon Peter called to James and John, “Bring your boat and help me!”
Soon the floors of both boats were covered with the silvery fish. Piles of fish reached up the sides of the boats and threatened to sink them!
When Simon Peter saw all the fish, he knelt before Jesus and said, “Leave me. I am a sinful man.”
But Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid. Follow Me, and you will be a fisher of men.”
Simon Peter, James, and John dragged their loaded boats up onto the sand and left them there. They turned away from the biggest catch of their lives and left all behind to follow Jesus. They would serve Him as long as they lived. And many people would learn of Jesus because of their work. They truly were fishers of men.