At Your Word

In a professional sense, Peter and Jesus were just getting acquainted.

The profession being fishers of men, the Lord was only beginning to assemble a band of assistants he would describe as apostles.


On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat (Luke 5:1-3).


Looking for the proper punctuation to his lesson, the carpenter addressed the fishermen in whose boat he was sitting. “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4).

Reasonable enough, except that the fishermen had finished their work already after a most disappointing evening upon the lake. The fish just weren’t biting and even the most optimistic trawler knew it was no use to keep drowning his bait for nothing.

Peter, however, had something more than fishing expertise and confidence in his ability to coax tilapia out of the lake. He believed in the carpenter. “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets” (Luke 5:5).

Sometimes every ounce of worldly wisdom is driving us in one direction and the only thing restraining us is our faith in Jesus. Sometimes every other indicator is pointing toward compromise or failure, but that is when our faith is most sorely tested. Will we remain true to the plan of God or venture beyond it to explore the innovations of man (see James 3:13-18)? 

God’s plan involved Sarah’s womb, but Abraham could not imagine his elderly wife bearing him a child. God’s plan required dipping seven times in the Jordan, but Naaman saw no healing powers in the dirty river. God’s plan centers upon the gospel message, but modern men find greater power in a social gospel of entertainment, food, recreation and community services.

In spite of our failure to listen, the carpenter still instructs the fisherman to ignore worldly doubt and skepticism and to have enough faith to let down his nets into a sea of humanity with simple invitations to repent and be converted. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).

“And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking” (Luke 5:6, NKJV). Perhaps fewer souls will be caught by the pure gospel than a sweetened message of fun and games, but the ones that are caught will surely be worth keeping.