Peter, Fishers of Men

Last time, we took a look at Peter’s call to follow Jesus and how his name was changed from Simon.

Today, let’s take a look at Peter being called to be a fisher of men.

Luke 5:4-11 tells the story where Peter is fishing and Jesus tells him he will become fishers of men.

So, let’s take a look at the passage:

“Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.  And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.”

The fishermen spent a lot of time together at sea

The men were tired and discouraged that they had been up all night and not caught a single fish during that time.

“At thy command. Though it seemed so improbable that they would take anything after having in vain toiled all night, yet he was willing to trust the word of Jesus and make the trial. This was a remarkable instance of faith. Peter, as it appears, knew little then of Jesus. He was not then a chosen apostle. Jesus came to these fishermen almost a stranger and unknown, and yet at his command Peter resolved to make another trial, and go once more out into the deep. Oh, if all would as readily obey him, all would be in like manner blessed. If sinners would thus obey him, they would find all his promises sure. He never disappoints. He asks only that we have confidence in him, and he will give to us every needful blessing.”{Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament.}

Being a fisherman was hard work

“And when they had this done, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.”   {v.6-7}

Can you imagine hauling in the net so heavy that the net breaks.  They were probably frantically motioning to the other ship for help, while at the same time holding onto the net which was so heavy it was all they could do to continue to hold on to their catch.

“They gave signs. Perhaps they were at a considerable distance, so that they could not be easily heard.”   {Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament.}

“ When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”   {v.8}

“This was a common posture of supplication. He had no doubt now of the power and

Catching fish is a smelly job

knowledge of Jesus. In amazement, wonder, and gratitude, and not doubting that he was in the presence of some divine being, he prostrated himself to the earth, trembling and afraid… This is an expression of Peter’s humility, and of his consciousness of his unworthiness. It was not from want of love to Jesus; it did not show that he would not be pleased with his favour and presence; but it was the result of being convinced that Jesus was a messenger from God —a high and holy being; and he felt that he was unworthy to be in his presence. In his deep consciousness of sin, therefore, he requested that Jesus would depart from him and his little vessel. Peter’s feeling was not unnatural, though it was not proper to request Jesus to leave him. It was an involuntary, sudden request, and arose from ignorance of the character of Jesus.”   {Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament.}

Jesus changed Peter’s life

“For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.”  {v.9-10}

“Thou shalt be a minister of the gospel, and thy business shall be to win men to the truth that they may be saved.” {Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament.}

“ And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.”   {v.11}

“It was not much that they left —a couple of small boats and their nets; but it was all they

Archaeologist found this fishing boat from Biblical times

had, even all their living. But this showed their love of Jesus, and their willingness to deny themselves, as really as if they had forsaken palaces and gold. All that Jesus asks is that we should leave all we have for him; that we should love him more than we do whatever friends or property we may possess, and be willing to give them all up when he requires it.” {Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament.}

“We must all, like Peter, own ourselves to be sinful men, therefore Jesus Christ might justly depart from us. But we must beseech him that he would not depart; for woe unto us if the Saviour depart from sinners! Rather let us entreat him to come and dwell in our hearts by faith, that he may transform and cleanse them. These fishermen forsook all, and followed

Peter began casting his nets for the kingdom of God

Jesus, when their calling prospered. When riches increase, and we are tempted to set our hearts upon them, then to quit them for Christ is thankworthy.”   {Matthew Henry Concise Bible Commentary.}

Forsaking everything is often difficult for Christians.  There are people, possessions or even sins that we all want to hold on to in our flesh.  But to be a true follower of Christ means being willing to give all of this up for the cause of Christ, to follow him and to do as he request.  Only He knows what will be asked of us. Our goal is to be willing to surrender ourselves and follow him.

Are you willing to forsake all for your faith?


Peter went from fishing for fish to fishing for men Click To Tweet


Pictures courtesy of

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.