Peter and Andrew were brothers, business partners, and seasoned fishermen. Taking advantage of the cooler temps, they would fish through the night, and take their catch to the market each morning. Despite their years of experience and skill, each toss of the net was a new act of faith. Would they pull in enough for the day?
Peter had just come in from a fruitless night of fishing when Jesus showed up. After climbing into his boat, he said to Peter, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4, ESV).
Peter knew the best fishing was at night when the fish came to the shallow waters. By now it was the heat of the day, and the fish had moved to deeper, cooler waters, beyond the reach of the nets. You can hear the mixture of doubt and resolve to trust in his response. “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets” (Luke 5:5, ESV).
Moments after the nets splashed into the water, they pulled tight, and the boat began to tip. This was the biggest catch Peter had ever caught! The Creator of all things had simply rearranged all the fish in the lake and directed them into Peter’s nets.
In this moment of miraculous provision, Peter didn’t jump for joy because his financial pressures were relieved. Instead, he fell down at Jesus’ knees and said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8, ESV). In the presence of such an obvious display of divine power, Peter realized his sinful lack of faith.
We often associate our success at work with our ability to fill our own nets. When our hope is placed solely on ourselves, empty nets will inevitably tempt us to despair. Despite his expertise in fishing, Peter obeyed the Lord’s command and cast his nets out into the deep. It was this small measure of faith that reaped a great reward.
When we resolve to obey, even when it doesn’t make sense, we honor God and learn that our trust is well-placed. Peter’s act of obedience (even if mingled with doubt) resulted in a fuller understanding of his sinfulness in light of God’s power and holiness. When we learn to trust the Savior who always provides, the ‘net result’ is a heart that trusts him more the next time we reel in empty nets.