It all began while we were out on the lake of Gennesaret. My good friend Simon, along with my brother James and I had been fishing all night. We had not caught one single fish! We were down trodden, broke and very hungry. Then we arrived at shore. We just wanted to wash our nets and leave the sea for the day; start anew in the evening. We were very tired.
We happened to see that there were many people on the beach, anxiously awaiting the arrival of this new teacher named Jesus. And, they really wanted to hear these amazing stories from this new Prophet! He was very exciting to listen to! I looked about and saw our two boats, empty on the sand, while Simon started up the cleaning of the nets. I began to walk over to help. The sea air felt nice around my skin, and the cool sand felt good on my feet. I closed my eyes for a moment and waited to continue on to help Simon with the nets.
While my eyes were still closed, Jesus walked up to us and entered our boat. He asked my friend Simon to push out into the water. Simon called to James and I, and we joined them out on the lake. Jesus stood up, gave us a smile and began to speak loudly to those on shore. His hair was tussled and his cloak made him look bigger than he was. The wind blew salt air and spray around our faces. Something big was happening and we felt it. He talked of His Life and Purpose; about a Kingdom that was coming.
Simon stared up at Jesus and seemed so perplexed. The early sun was shining onto his eyes and the birds seemed hushed. He could hear the waves, slap at the stern. He felt quite awkward with this man in his boat, talking of things he knew nothing about.
But strangely, he was reminded of his mother in law being healed earlier in the week! It all seemed to tie together somehow. He was convinced that this Jesus had to be from God. But how? Why?
I was busy in my own thoughts, as I often was, wondering what this man Jesus was saying. I stared at Him as He told stories and parables which were difficult to understand, but I somehow understood them. I so enjoyed being near Him, and I felt compelled to follow Him around everywhere to hear him teach.
When Jesus was done talking to the crowds on the shore, he asked Simon to drop his fishing net into the water. I watched with anticipation, because I knew the fishing had been dreadful in this area. I remembered the labor all night, and the reward was nothing. Nothing to even fill our bellies.
Simon looked at Jesus and did exactly what Jesus told him to do. He dropped the nets in the water. Suddenly, the boat began to tip! We pulled the nets up, as they ripped and tore! Multitudes of fish poured out! They fell into the boat, back in the sea! Endless fish, so much so, Simon yelled to the others to grab the second boat, and to come help!
I was astonished, almost gripped with fear! I watched as mass fish filled the boats! Fish were flopping and dancing and shaking about our feet, our nets torn and loosed! We started sinking. Immediately we hurried to the shore to unload the bounty.
Jesus stood there staring at Simon.
Simon looked up at Jesus, and fell. Fell at His feet. He cried out with tears streaming down his face, “Go away from me Lord! I am a sinful man!”
Simon’s eyes were tightly closed, but the shame was around him like a thick fog. I could sense his pain, his turmoil. My heart ached for him and I wanted to go to him, but the fish!
Jesus looked lovingly at Simon. “Do not fear Simon, for now you will be a fisher of men.”
When we got back to shore, we were faced with Jesus and Simon again. Jesus looked at me and my brother, and we simply knew. We dropped out nets, our fish, our lives…and we followed.
Taken from Luke 5:1-11