“And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed Him.” Luke 5:11
Only The Lord could have done a thing so marvelous as to turn complacency and unbelief into repentance and discipleship. You see, Jesus had already met the apostles. In the book of John, we are told that Andrew and most likely John were first drawn to follow Christ as the Messiah from having followed John the Baptist. Andrew in turn fetches his brother Simon, who Christ names Peter. John most likely fetches his brother, James. Then added are Phillip, Nathaniel, Matthew, etc. So, Jesus knew personally into whose boat He stepped that day, yet the Holy Spirit refers to Peter here as Simon still, though Christ said he’d be called Peter. (John 1)
Using the biblical examples of the Old Testament regarding names, we see that Jacob, having wrestled with God and been brought to a stature of dependence (with a God given wound of a displaced hip), would be called Israel. (Gen 32:28) However, the Holy Spirit goes back and forth between the two names to show us the heart of Jacob as he struggles to follow the Lord consistently. As his life’s story unfolds through Genesis, he is known more as Israel and less as Jacob as he grows closer to God.
The prophet Daniel, too, is renamed, though not by God. This renaming was done by king Nebuchadnezzar in calling him Belteshazzar. (Daniel 1:7) God reveals the inner man of Daniel, as, though it is recorded that others called him Belteshazzar, never again does the Holy Spirit refer to Daniel by that name. The reason for this is because he stood for God in all of the trials set before him. This is not to say he was perfect and did not sin. We know that he did, for the Bible teaches us that “there is none righteous, no, not one,” (Rom 3:10) and “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” (Rom 3:23) and that “if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the Truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8) Therefore, the truth is Daniel had sin. This is a matter of his heart.
It is how we must look at Simon Peter. In this moment, he has already met Jesus, and even knows his brother calls Him Messiah. Yet, the Holy Spirit still refers to him as only Simon, showing us the heart. Simon must have had doubt within him, because, he was still fishing, doing that which he had been doing prior to meeting Christ. He had spent the night fishing and caught nothing, and after allowing Jesus to stand on his boat and use it to preach the gospel, he is still in doubt of just Who Jesus is. After finishing speaking to the crowd, Jesus asks him to go out deeper and throw out nets for a catch, and Simon says, “Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at Thy Word I will let down the net.” (Luke 5:5) Of course, the nets become so full, that they can’t pull them up themselves. As the nets begin to break, Simon has to call over the sons of thunder, and both boats are filled so full that they almost sink from the fish. This is a haul the likes of which Simon has probably never before seen. Upon seeing this, though, notice the change given to his name:
“When Simon Peter saw it , he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” Luke 5:8
His sin was of that of unbelief. He was beginning to believe though, because the Holy Spirit adds the name given to him by Jesus. He is now called Simon Peter, and never again will he be called just Simon, though he would deny Jesus. His heart would still be toward Him. We see this in his actions. Once he finally saw Jesus as more than a mere man, he and these disciples bring the boats to shore and they forsake it all. They probably gave the fish to the crowds, and their boats to someone else. They could have just simply left (though I would prefer the former explanation, as God’s provision would not go to waste, I’m sure, and this also shows the heart behind blessing others through our blessings). What is relevant is that they just brought in the haul of their lives, and they walked away from it all, and followed Jesus.
This is exactly what Jesus means when He says, “Whosever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his Cross, and follow Me.” (Mark 8:34)
The disciples knew now that their lives would forever be about Him. They denied the lives they had worked for and sought after. They forsook it all, and they went after Jesus. That is what we need to realize this life is all about. We are created for God’s good pleasure, to perform His Will and to worship and glorify Him. He desires to have a close relationship with us, and that is only possible through Christ, but we need to see Him for Who He is by seeking His Face.
“…ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith The Lord” Jer 29:13&14a
Jesus is right before us, performing all things through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, making Himself known to us in all that we do, and in all that we are. He asks that we only abandon ourselves to Him, forsaking the world we cling to, and follow after Him. We needn’t look far at all. He is here. Just look up to find Him. Brethren, He is asking you to finally let go of that last thing. Whatever that pet sin you hold on to, let it alone. Abandon it and move closer to Him.
If you are not yet a believer, you can become one. You don’t need a miracle of fish. All you need is to trust that God is leading you to the right place, and He is. He is a righteous, good, and just God. He would not lead you to sin. Stop, repent, and forsake it. Accept Jesus and find new life in Him. Join the family of men, women, and children who have given it all up, forsaken all, and have come to Jesus. “Come,” He says, “follow Me.” (Luke 18:22)