Fishers of Men – Peter’s encounter with Jesus

Bible Study Passage: Luke 5:1-11

1 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, 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.

Why were people gathered around Jesus?

  • People were gathered to hear Jesus’ teaching. Jesus had been preaching the Kingdom of God throughout the region of Judea (Luke 4:44). By now, he was a well known Rabbi.
  • Jesus made an effective way to speak to the large crowd by preaching from Peter’s boat. The slopes at the lake shore made a natural amphitheater. Acoustic research has demonstrated that as many as 7000 people can hear a person speaking from the boat in the bay. (Reference)

Did Peter know Jesus?

Yes. It was not his first encounter with Jesus. He had met with Jesus before.

John 1:40-41 – Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).

What did Jesus ask Peter to do? Why was he hesitant?

  • To cast his net to catch the fish.
  • Peter and his partners had tried all night long to catch the fish. They could not catch any fish. He must have been very tired.
  • Peter was an experienced fisherman. He knew what is the best time to catch fish. (Jesus was son of Joseph, a carpenter by trade.)
  • Therefore, Peter agreed to try one more time hesitantly.

What happened after than?

  • They caught such a large number of fish that their nets started to break. He called his companions to help him, even their boats were so filled with fish that it started to sink.
  • They were about to get pretty good money for such a large catch!

How did Peter respond?

  • Peter was a fisherman. He knew that this was no ordinary incident. This was a supernatural act of God. He knew that he had just witnessed a miracle.
  • It is fascinating, how Peter responded. When he had truly experienced and knew the power and identity of Jesus, he first realized his own sinfulness, his own unworthiness.
  • When we have an encounter with the Holy and Living God, we realize how sinful we are.
  • Peter was not the only one in the Bible with such response.
  • When Isaiah saw the Glory of God, he was the similar response. (Read Isaiah 6:5)

What did Jesus ask him to do?

  • “Don’t be afraid. From now on, you will catch men.” (Luke 5:10)
  • Peter followed Jesus immediately, leaving everything behind, even the great catch of fish.

Reflections and Applications

  • Are you willing to set aside your knowledge, experience and follow Jesus’ words by faith?
  • Do you recognize your own sinfulness? Have you confessed your sins to Jesus?
  • What things are holding you back from following Jesus completely?


  1. Rose Musimbi Odero says

    I have enjoyed the bible study. I would like to learn more about our Loving God.


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