Luke 5:1-16

1One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, 2he saw at the water's edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

4When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch."

5Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets."

6When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

8When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus' knees and said, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!" 9For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon's partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, "Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men." 11So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

12While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean."

13Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" And immediately the leprosy left him.

14Then Jesus ordered him, "Don't tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them."

15Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

Things to Note

1. Jesus honours the kind of faith that trusts and obeys Him even when it goes against "the normal way of doing things" (vv. 4-7).

- "Normally, the fish that were netted in shallow water at night would migrate during the daylight hours to waters too deep to reach easily with nets, which is why Peter fished at night" (MacArthur Study Bible, 1997, p. 1521).

- Therefore, Peter likely thought that Jesus' command made no sense, but He did what the Lord instructed Him anyway - and the result was fish aplenty!

- In a similar way, Abraham believed in God's promise that He would be "a father of many nations" through the birth of his and Sarah's son, even though "the fact that his body was as good as dead" and that "Sarah's womb was also dead" meant that he was hoping seemingly "against all hope" (Rom 4:18-21).

Question for reflection: In what situations of life does our life of faith "go against the grain" of the kind of attitudes, actions, etc. that our culture expects us to have or do? In these situations, are we "fully persuaded", as Abraham and Peter were, of the power of God?

2. Witnessing the miraculous should drive people to acknowledge the presence of God with all humility (vv. 8-9).

- Peter came to see, because of this highly unusual provision of fish, that he was in the presence of God. He knew that God's "eyes are too pure to look on evil". Like Isaiah the prophet of the Old Testament, his eyes had "seen the King, the LORD Almighty", and so he could say along with the prophet, "Woe to me...I am ruined!" (Isa 6:1-5).

- Contrast this with the irreverent and casual manner with which the miracles of God are often received by many professing Christians today - they glory in the miracles themselves, and make God out to be a "wonder worker" without realizing who He really is.

3. Jesus not only saves sinners who acknowledge His lordship, but calls and empowers them to live new lives (vv. 10-11).

- Notice how, in response to Peter's confession of his own sin, Jesus doesn't immediately tell Peter He will save him from his sin, but rather says to him that he will have a new calling and purpose - in essence, he tells him he will be an evangelist (what is meant by the expression "catching men") but more importantly, He tells him that he is now called into the service of a new Master: "From now on..."

- Those who trust in Christ are called of God to be new people: "God... has saved us and called us to a holy life - not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace" (2 Tim 1:8-9; see also 2 Co 5:17)

- Jesus' statement to Peter also indicates a certainty which suggests that God will enable His people to carry out His will (Phil 1:6; Heb 13:20-21)

4. The Lord will fulfill every prayer request that is in accord with His will (vv. 12-13).

- The leper was humble enough to see that he had no claims on Jesus: "if you are willing..."

- "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of him." (1 Jn 5:14-15)

- Contrast this with the presumption and demandingness that characterize groups like the Word of Faith movement, and the health and wealth gospel ("Name it and claim it").

5. Jesus showed that communion with God is often best achieved through solitude (vv. 15-16).

- although God decreed that "it is not good for man to be alone" (Gen 2:18), there are times when it is necessary to pull away from others so that the LORD may speak to us in our solitude, as He enables us to pray and meditate on His word. If Jesus needed solitude, how much more must we!

- Solitude also reveals the genuineness of one's devotion to God (Mt 6:5-8)