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7. The First Draught of Fishes


A. Passage Selected: Luke 5:1-11

B. Progression Stated: Biographical or Ideological

It is biographical because it centers on the person of Peter who needs a lesson on fishing. This is ironic, because his profession was fishing. It is his boat, the conversation is with him. He is the central figure.

The basic idea of the miracle is “The Faith Needed for Fishing.”

C. Presentation Summarized:

1. Context
a. Remote

The relationship that Jesus has been developing with the disciples. There are five callings or challenges to the disciples:

  • John 1:35-42 - the initial calling of some of the disciples.
  • Mark 1: and Matt 4: - the invitation to committed discipleship
  • Luke 5:1-11 - our passage
  • Mark 3, Matt: 10 - The commission to ministry. He sends them out to the lost sheep of Israel
  • Matt 28: - Great commission

    So the backdrop is the authority of Jesus.

    Isa 9:1-2 says Galilee would be where Christ would demonstrate His Messianic authority.

    b. Immediate

    The crowds are pressing in, so they move out to the water for some space. After He had finished teaching, He tells Peter to take the boat out into deeper water because he wants to teach Peter a lesson.

    2. Content
    a. Faltering faith - Peter’s impatience (5-7)

    (1) Reaction

    I don’t think so

    (2) Response

    Because you say so

    (3) Reliance

    I will do so

    Peter catches himself in the middle of a bad response and changes to the right response. What does Peter respond to? The word of Jesus. “Because you say so...”

    One application for us is what will we do because He says so?

    Trench says that the best fishing in Galilee was before dawn. (p. 138). Also, Peter was a professional fisherman and Jesus was the son of a carpenter, so the initial response is understandable.

    b. Fearful faith - Peter’s impression (8-10a)

    There is a fearful astonishment on the part of Peter. He gets a glimpse of who Jesus is and the result is a recognition of his own sinfulness. This is the proper response to the revelation of God. Cf. Isa 6:1f

    There are many passages which show the response of fear to the revelation of God. Gen 15:1, Ex 20:20, Josh 8:1, Isa 41:10. Matt 1:20, Luk 1:13, 30, 2:10, 5:10, 12:32, John 6:23, ... Here we see that when Jesus say “Fear not...” in verse 10, there is more to it than what we would first think. The claim inherent in Jesus’ statement is that He is God.

    c. Fruitful faith - Peter’s imperative (10b)

    “You will be catchers of men.” It literally means, “to take alive.” The irony is that they have been catching live fish to put them to death. Now they will be catching dead men to give them life.

    In that context, speaking to fishermen, Jesus said that they would be fishers of men. Today, talking to a computer programmer, He might have said they would be programmers of men. If they had been construction workers, He might have said they would be builders of men.

    There is a guarantee of results in the passage. He did not say that they would try to catch men.

    d. Following faith - The Disciples’ induction (11)

    The left everything and followed Jesus. I don’t know if it would be stretching to make this comparison to modern day, but what if you had been playing the lotto for the past two years and Jesus came to you and said, “Try these numbers.” Wouldn’t you’re initial reaction be that it’s no use. I’ll never win. And then you give the numbers a try and win the lotto. Would you leave “everything” and follow Jesus? Or would you go collect your money and think about how you were going to spend it?


  • Jesus illustrates his authority over people in calling them to ministry.
  • Because of the privacy of the miracle (they had moved from the shore to deep water), we need to understand that this miracle has nothing to do with the multitudes. This is a discipleship miracle and the discipleship miracles deal with the development of the ministry skills or character of the disciples.
  • Ps 8:6-8 says that God has authority over the sea creatures.
  • The results of evangelism are ordained by Christ. Only by following Christ and having faith in his direction could the disciples become catchers of men.


  • Does business failure disqualify you for ministry? Who do we usually put on our board of elders? Successful business men? The disciples had fished all night and caught nothing. That was a business failure. Christ used it to teach them a lesson. So, don’t be discouraged by failure. Learn from it. And don’t disqualify others because of business failure (unless of course it was because of dishonesty or something.)
  • Don’t let human misunderstanding prevent obedience. Peter “knew” that it would be useless to throw the net over at that time.
  • Allow God to determine the course as well as the result of my life. I think our job is to obey God and do our best, but we need to leave the results up to Him. If we try to take responsibility for the results, it will result in pride if there are good results or guilt if there are bad results.
  • Beware that the pride of my ability may cloud my dependence on Christ. Peter was a professional fisherman. His initial reaction was that he knew more about fishing than Jesus.
  • The clearer the revelation of God, the better the realization of my sinfulness. Ex 34, Isa 6, Jer 1, Dan 9
  • Revelation precedes service. It is one type of motivation.
  • Don’t ever lose the thrill at the grace of God who uses sinful men to accomplish His purposes.
  • Obedience to the word of God brings blessing to the worker of God.
  • 2Co 12:9 - In our weakness, His strength is manifested.
  • Related Topics: Miracles

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