Peter was sitting in his boat after a night of total failure. He was listening to the amazing, beautiful sermon of Jesus but that did not erase the memory of the previous night’s failure.
Before telling you what Jesus told Peter to do, let me tell you about the crowd that came to Jesus that morning.
They were living in emotional darkness. But on that day Jesus brought a joyous, bright marvelous light to them. That specific day one of the greatest prophecies from the book of Isaiah was fulfilled.
Can you see the people flocking to my shores? Every moment new seekers after new spiritual experiences joined the multitude upon the shore.
Aged men leaning upon their staffs, hardy peasants from the hills, fishermen from their toil on the lake, merchants and rabbis, the rich and learned, old and young, bringing their sick and suffering ones, pressed to hear the words of the divine Teacher.
For the first time in their history, they experience miracles. Jesus healed every sick person that came for healing. You should have heard the joyous hallelujahs of the blind that were healed.
They shouted with joy. “We were blind, but now we can see!” Proclaiming with tears of joy their emotions of gratitude that Jesus changed their darkness into light.
Have you ever heard of the prophecy of Isaiah? He prophesied that the darkness of the people of Galilee would be changed into light. Now this is not only their physical darkness, but also their spiritual darkness.
I, the Sea of Galilea was honoured to see this very prophecy being fulfilled on my shores.
Let me read it to you:
Isaiah 9:1 But there won’t be any more sadness for those who were suffering. In the past the LORD brought shame on the land of Zebulun. He also brought shame on the land of Naphtali. But in days to come he will honour Galilee, where people from other nations live. He will honor the land along the Mediterranean Sea. And he will honor the territory east of the Jordan River.
9:2 The people who are now living in darkness will see a great light. They are now living in a very dark land. But a light will shine on them.
What do you think could be that light?
What caused their darkness, their misery, their slavery in the first place? The ten tribes rejected the God who brought them out of Egypt, and they choose the gods of their heathen neighbours.
And how did the gods of Assyria treat them?
In Isaiah’s day the armies of Assyria caused great misery and great “darkness” to Zebulun and Naphtali, two of the northernmost tribes of Israel.
The ruins of Hazor tell of the Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser III who destroyed this mighty city in 732 BC.
The ruins of Samaria testify of their destruction by the Assyrian king Sargon II in 722 BC.
But Isaiah prophesied that another King, King Jesus would come with light of love and forgiveness and will bring hope for the devasted people of Galilee.
In the realization that this experience came as the result of spiritual darkness, Isaiah, with prophetic eye, looks forward to the “great light”, which will dispel the darkness of men’s souls.
John, one of the boys that grew up on the waters of my lake, wrote these verses on “light.”
John 1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
John 1:5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
I shall never forget the day when I saw the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy on the faces of people listening to the words of Jesus.
For the first time they became hopeful. For the first they received a dream to carry them through their difficult struggles under Roman oppression.
Isaiah predicted that the same regions that once saw so much distress, will see a revelation of glory and light. The picture is one of the coming of the world’s Messiah with His message of life and hope.
It was also predicted that over a world shrouded in darkness the Sun of Righteousness will arise with healing in His wings (Mal. 4:2).
Malachi 4:2 But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings; And you shall go out And grow fat like stall-fed calves.
Jesus announced a new kingdom, the kingdom of grace where He will rule for ever. A kingdom where people will never get sick, never cry again, never die of hunger. A kingdom of peace and rest and happiness that will last for ever.
THE PRESENCE OF JESUS
That very day when Jesus preached from the boat of Peter, this prophecy was fulfilled.
At the time Isaiah wrote these words the land of Israel was in great distress, particularly the border regions to the north and east. Why?
2 Kings 15:29 In the days of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria came and took Ijon, Abel Beth Maachah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali; and he carried them captive to Assyria.
This was a midnight experience. The worst that could happen to any land.
My waters witnessed this cruel Assyrian king who brought deep darkness over us when he led our people in exile.
The people who stood on my shores were struggling in these dark distressing times. But now they listened to a Deliverer who would lead them to undimmed light of peace and security in a land of safety.
Let us return to the events on my shores. Something great is going to happen.
Luke 5:4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch
Luke 5:5 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.”
Maybe Peter thought that this was a bit far fetching. Jesus was a Master preacher, but He was apparently unaware of fishing techniques. You don’t fish during daytime because the fish could see the net. At night it was a different story.
Fishing had been Peter’s business, perhaps from childhood. He had apparently been reasonably successful at it, for a group of men had associated themselves with him in the business.
As an experienced fisherman Peter probably thought his own knowledge of fishing superior to that of Christ, who had been a carpenter and cabinetmaker.
If you never got depressed your will not be able to resonate with Peter and his colleagues.
They say nothing succeeds like success. And nothing can depress you like failure.
And once you entertain your failures these negative thoughts fabricate some more serious dangerous negative thoughts that can harm you seriously.
During the long watches of the night Peter, and his companions as well, reflected on the fate of John the Baptist, who had now languished in prison for six weary months (see on ch. 3:20).
Peter was discussion with his fellow fishermen the fate of John the Baptist. A short time ago they all listened to him and accepted his messages of warning and hope.
Would Jesus also follow in John’s footsteps? Why does He not rescue John the Baptist from prison?
They discussed the failure of Christ to win the confidence and support of the Jewish leaders during the year that had passed, when most of His efforts had been devoted to Judea.
To make things worse the loud angry voices of the sons of thunder, John and James were also heard in their fruitless frustrating effort to catch fish.
They also called to mind the recent experience at Nazareth, where Christ’s own townsmen tried to kill Him.
Weary from fruitless toil, their hearts tortured and tempted by the demon of unbelief, Peter and his fellows, like Jacob long before, were no doubt ready to exclaim, “All these things are against me!” (see Gen. 42:36).
The longer they discussed their negative experiences, the more depressed they became.
At this stage they were only part time followers of Jesus because they had financial obligations. They were thinking of becoming fulltime followers of Jesus but now they were in doubt.
Have you been in this negative depressed mood? Are you there right now? Fortunately Jesus the Friend of sinners knows about it and despite our depressed situations He still wants us to have a closer walk with Him. What a Saviour!
The discouraging experience of the night was about to be followed by an experience that would prove to Peter, the fisherman, to be conclusive evidence of the divinity of Christ.
Similarly, in the ministry of Jesus, the discouraging experiences of Judea and Nazareth were about to give way to the glorious successes of Galilee. Soon the crowds would press upon Jesus so that He would need, at times, to hide from them in order so much as to eat and sleep.
The dankness of depression left them when they obeyed an illogical command of Jesus to fish in daytime. Their night was turned into day. And this is what Jesus wants us to experience. If we obey even if we have our doubts, the miracle will happen.