Fill It Up
Luke 5:11, “So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.”
Did you ever wonder how Jesus decided to choose His disciples? Fisherman? Really?
I looked a bit deeper into this call. We have accounts in 3 of the gospels. Matthew and Mark both give a brief account, the 4 are called while mending their nets and cleaning their nets after a catch. Luke gives a more detailed account.
The four fishermen, James, his brother John, Simon Peter and Andrew had been out with two boats all night on Lake Gennesaret, also known as the Sea of Galilee and had caught nothing. Their nets were made of flax or linen. They fished at night so that the unaware fish could not see the net. These men depended on catching fish for a living and you can imagine the exhaustion that they were experiencing after working all night with nothing to show for it. I have done a fair amount of fishing with my Dad. He would need help putting the boat into the water and would “drag” me along to help him. It was always a long couple of hours, sitting quietly waiting for a fish to bite the bait. I can’t imagine going all night.
Jesus jumps into one of the boats and begins to teach the group of people that were following him and after he finished speaking he told Peter to launch out again into the deep and let down the nets and fill them up!
Jesus must have been down at the seashore quite frequently for Peter knows who Jesus is, He calls him Master, and obeys his request even though he thinks that nothing will come of casting the nets in the daylight.
You can imagine his surprise to let down the nets and find not only a catch but such a catch that the boat was about to sink . He frantically motions to his buddies on the beach to get their boat out there and help him before it’s too late and they too , were astonished at the amount of the catch. The nets were filled to overflowing!
After they returned to the shore, the four are asked to follow Jesus and become fishers of men. The Scripture tells us that they forsook all and followed . Isn’t that crazy? They hit the jackpot and they let it sit and walk away? When you think about it, this is a reoccurring event. He didn’t ask them to follow Him after they had caught nothing. It would have been a human response, I didn’t catch anything all night so yes I’ll follow you. I have nothing to lose. No, they left with full nets.
In the book of John Chapter 21, we see another fishing event. This takes place after the crucifixion. Peter goes back to what he is familiar with, fishing. Thomas, Nathaniel, James, John and two others are with him. They spent the night out on the boat and once again, they have caught nothing! As the sun rises , they head toward shore and in the distance they see someone waiting for them on the beach. They hear a shout, Children , have you any food? They answer “No”. Jesus again tells them, “cast your nets again and this time on the right side of the boat.” Sure enough, it happens again, so many fish that they barely make it to shore. Peter immediately takes off his coat and jumps into the water and swims to shore. There is only one person he knows that can fill up the nets in the daylight ! It is Jesus!
While the disciples were doing His work, He would provide for their needs. Jesus has a purpose in bidding them cast their net on the right side of the ship. On that side He stood upon the shore. That was the side of faith. If they labored in connection with Him-His divine power combining with their human effort- they could not fail of success. A lesson for us as well. Jesus wants to fill us with His spirit that we too may do His bidding and finish the work before He comes again to take us home!