Returning to a rocky shore and a pushy crowd when you just worked a night shift. Feeling frustrated after failed efforts. Pushing through fatigue to focus on the last of your tasks. This probably wasn’t a situation in which Simon Peter expected to be awed by Christ’s presence. He likely just wanted to clean up and get home. But Jesus can shock, amaze, and delight the most exhausted of rugged fisherman—and us as well.
Jesus had begun His earthly ministry. His fame was beginning to spread as He traveled around Judea, teaching and healing.
What is it like to know the Lord Jesus, be near Him, and even have a friendship with Him?
- The people, anxious to hear Jesus, were “pressing around Him” on the shore (Luke 5:1). Strong’s Concordance says the Greek verb epikeimai can mean “to press physically,” as well as “to rest upon” or “to insist.” Think about these alternative meanings. How do they add to your understanding of a Jesus follower in the Lord’s presence? Are they part of your life of discipleship? Explain.
- God, being all-powerful, doesn’t need anything from us. But He graciously invites us to serve Him, and our response affects how the relationship will grow. Just as in human friendship, intimacy with Jesus includes being willing to help. Consider the Lord’s request in verses 2-3. What impact did Simon’s consent have on their friendship?
- Instructions from the Lord may at times strike us as illogical, but that’s because we don’t know all that He knows. When Jesus had finished teaching, He made an additional request. Do you think Simon’s hesitance is understandable (Luke 5:4-5)? Take a moment to store his words—“but I will do as you say” (Luke 5:5)—in your heart, to use in your relationship with Jesus.
CONTINUING THE STORY
When Simon complied with the Lord’s request, the result was astonishing.
- Obedience always brings blessing. Simon believed there were no fish to be had that morning. But Jesus’ instructions led to an enormous catch (Luke 5:6). Describe a time the Lord surprised you with an unexpected blessing. How did it affect your faith? What about your relationship with Him?
- We often think we’re ready for God’s gifts, but they can bring challenges we weren’t expecting. The fishermen’s catch was so large “their nets began to tear” and they had to ask others for help (Luke 5:6-7). What does this tell you about the connection between blessing and responsibility? Ask God if there’s any area where you need the help of others to manage His blessings.
- The boats began to sink from the weight of the fish (Luke 5:7). Do you find it strange the Lord allowed this danger? What might it have taught Simon and the others about being around Jesus?
- The Greek word thambos, meaning “amazement” (Luke 5:9), can also carry a sense of fear or awe. Consider all the emotions that led Simon to fall down and worship Jesus (Luke 5:8). Which are present in your heart today? Take a moment to share them with the Lord.
Simon asked Jesus to “go away” (Luke 5:8), but the Lord drew him nearer instead.
- In the wonderful presence of Christ, you may start out feeling hesitant, confused, tired, or bewildered. But if you’ll obey Him, He will bless, strengthen, and amaze you. Let each encounter you have with the Lord refresh your commitment to leave everything and follow Him (Luke 5:11).
Consider deeper aspects of this passage.
The glorious person of Jesus is beyond description—His qualities are unequaled, His love overwhelming, and His miracles staggering. Most who know the Lord would not be surprised to learn that Simon and the other fishermen in this story were “seized with amazement.” Though Jesus is no longer physically present on earth, He is with and within every believer (Col. 1:27). As with any loving friendship or relationship, it awes the heart to meditate on the splendor of the loved one. This passage offers intriguing hints that help us see the astounding glory of Jesus a little more deeply.
- As Jesus spoke, the people were “listening to the word of God” (Luke 5:1). He not only shared God’s Word (i.e., the Scriptures) with them but was the living embodiment of that Word: “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). John’s verse continues, “And we saw His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Try to express what this aspect of Jesus means to you.
- Simon had been fishing “all night” (Luke 5:5). But when Jesus entered his boat, the fisherman was in the presence of “the Light of the world,” who promises that those who follow Him will never walk in darkness (John 8:12). What are some ways Simon’s path went from darkness to light as he followed Christ? What about your own path?
- It’s a profound honor to be in Jesus’ presence. Awareness of Him will change your life and fill you with humility, wonder, and worship.