Though it may be strange to have a passage on the calling of the disciples as a devotional on Christmas Day, actually it makes great sense. Jesus came into the world to save sinners, and we who have trusted in him have become his disciples. So the outgrowth of the incarnation is that Christ would accomplish his finished work and build his church. And we are his followers to serve by leaving behind the things of this world to be involved more importantly in Kingdom purposes.
This was clearly not the first time that Peter and Andrew had been with Jesus. Apparently they were essentially part-time followers, still being involved with their fishing enterprise. The crowd around Jesus had pressed in closely so that not all could hear. Therefore, Jesus gets into Simon Peter’s boat and goes out a bit from shore. Now he could be more easily seen, and his voice would echo off the water and be heard by all.
Hey, there’s nothing I’d rather do than go fishing after finishing a sermon! (Actually, that’s not really true.) Simon, being an experienced fisherman, knows that this is a futile effort at this time of day. They had fished all night without success, and there was no way the fish would be near enough to the surface in the daytime. But, to humor the carpenter dude whose preaching he loved, out they go into the deep waters of the lake.
Fish, fish, and more fish. The boats are sinking under the weight. This makes no sense naturally. It could only be because Jesus is there. The full realization of who Christ is lands fully on Simon, and he too begins to sink under the weight of his sinfulness.
Leaving the fish for someone else to deal with, they drop everything and follow Jesus. Can you do that? Could you do that? You are not likely to get called upon to drop it all, but you may be called upon to let go of more than is comfortable. But as I always say, the person is yet to be found who regrets giving up anything to follow the Lord. God is never in debt to us.
Luke 5:1 – One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, [Sea of Galilee] the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. 2 He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He 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.
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So 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.
8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and 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 fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.