Luke’s account in the opening verses of chapter 5 are of what quickly became a frequent occurrence around Jesus. As word spread about Jesus and the word of God which He spoke, as well as the miracles that He did, the crowds “pressing in on Him” sometimes became an issue that He had to withdraw from. In this case, Luke says that He was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. This name is the Greek form of “Chinnereth,” which was a town allotted to Naphtali in Joshua 19:35. The body of water is also known as Lake Tiberias and, more familiarly, the Sea of Galilee.
Jesus saw two boats beside the lake, and the fishermen were not in them. They were done with their night of fishing and were washing their nets, making ready to put them away until another day. He got into one that belonged to “Simon Peter,” and began to teach the people from the boat. This is not the only time that Jesus used a boat to get some breathing room, and it should not be mistaken for the time he did so in Matthew 13, when he told the parable of the sower and other parables. That will come later in the Gospel of Luke. Note that here in this chapter, Luke does not put the emphasis on the sermon, but on the interaction between Jesus and the fishermen that would be His new disciples.
Notice Peter’s slight irritation with Jesus’ instructions to put the nets out in deep water. The fishermen had completed a night of fruitless work, and were doubtless tired and quite unhappy with the results of that labor. Yet, to his credit, he does as Jesus says, and the haul was enough for both boats to be overloaded. Peter then realized that this was no ordinary man – that He was sent from God, and that they had been a part of something very special. He bowed down to him, declaring his sinful nature, surely regretting his doubt. But Jesus told him, his brother Andrew, and his partners (two brothers that were the sons of Zebedee, James and John) that they would now be “catching men.”
When they got their boats to shore, they left everything and followed Jesus. The speed of the narrative here, and especially in the Gospel of Mark, makes us think that these were strangers to Jesus that immediately left their worldly possessions on a shoestring encounter. We should notice, however, that Mark tells us that James and John were in another boat a little farther along (Mark 1:16-20). It is unlikely that this was just a chance encounter with Peter and the others for the first time. Jesus boarded Peter’s boat as someone who was familiar to him. We can easily deduce that there was already a relationship between them, as well as with James and John. And the casual mention of the astonishment of the latter two also indicates some discussion (and certainly no small amount of excitement) had taken place once ashore.
(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.