When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
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.”
When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 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.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 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 catch men.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. (Luke 5:4-11)
In Luke’s gospel we see a much more vivid picture of the man Peter and his introduction to Jesus. The Lord is watching the disappointed fisherman clean their nets after laboring hard all night without any reward and his first test is to ask them to put their boats back out into the lake so that he might teach the crowds. Andrew and Simeon comply, sitting back against the gunwales to listen to the young Rabbi. When Jesus finished, he turned to the fisherman and invited him to put his freshly cleaned and bundled nets back in the water. Do we see the immediately obedient Peter? No, we see the tired and cranky Peter who attempts to dissuade the Lord from fulfilling His mission. Does he not know any better? Do we view our own hesitance as stumbling blocks?
When Peter does obey on the word of the Teacher, he is shocked at the immediate results of doing so as he watches his nets bulge to the breaking point. So Peter’s obedience has resulted in abundant reward, like an ancient prosperity gospel but the greater reward is still to be realized. As Peter becomes aware of the one who has rewarded him, he begs him to go away since he knows that he is in no condition to be in the presence of holiness. (Does this sound familiar to us?) Jesus is not deterred, however, from assembling his team and he calls on Peter to follow him.
Peter, looking at all of the new found riches flopping about in his nets, does so without hesitation.