Scripture | Luke 5:1-11
For my husband Joe and I, we are in that season of life where a lot of our friends are getting married. Wedding invitations are hanging on our refrigerator as constant reminders to RSVP. Close friends and family members inviting us to partake in an important and monumental part of their lives. Like with any invitation, we have the option to regretfully decline or gratefully accept each and every one of them. But by declining such an invitation, we are missing out on what could potentially be a beautiful evening filled with friends, family, joy and true love. That’s usually not something we want to miss out on. In this story of Peter, we see him receive invitations from Jesus he wouldn’t want to miss out on either, and we are invited into the same things as Peter was.
In this scripture, we have Peter, the professional fishermen, that had been out fishing all night and caught absolutely nothing. Considering this was his livelihood, it made for a rough day. We see in the scripture that a crowd was gathering around Jesus and they made their way over to where Peter and his friends were washing their nets. Jesus hopped in Peter’s boat to get some space and asked Peter to push it away from the land a little bit so he could teach. When he finished teaching, he told Peter to let down his nets for a catch. This would have probably caught Peter off guard since he had spent all night trying to fish with no luck, and on top of that, this was the first time he had met Jesus. But, this was an invitation for Peter to have hope.
Regardless of the fact that Peter had only heard Jesus speak and had just met him, Luke wrote that he said, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” (Luke 5:5) Here we see Peter accepting Jesus’ invitation to hope! We can see that in this invitation Jesus is asking Peter to set aside his own thoughts and trust in his guidance. We have this same invitation, and by accepting it, our thoughts are transformed. We see John Piper define biblical hope as, “A confident expectation and desire for something good in the future.” When Peter lets down his nets, he has this type of confident expectation in what Jesus has said. And we are called to live like that too. It could look like taking a step of faith or setting aside our own plans and ideas of what our lives should look like and trust in what God has called us to.
Jesus also extends an invitation of Peter to believe. When Jesus asked him to put down his nets, Peter and his friends witnessed a miracle. Jesus not only filled their nets but overflowed them to the point that their boat began to sink!! Upon seeing this, Luke writes, “But 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). We see that Peter saw this miracle and accepted Jesus’ invitation to believe. And just as we are invited to hope, we are also invited to believe, like Peter was. By accepting this invitation to believe it transforms how we live. Barry told us that our belief in Jesus should lead our lives to look more like Jesus’ life. This means living like Jesus at work and home and school, wherever we go. Although we won’t do this perfectly all the time, Jesus empowers us to live as his people in this world for his glory.
The next invitation Peter receives is the invitation to love. After Peter and his friends witnessed this miracle and Peter confessed that Jesus is Lord, Jesus said, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.’ And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.” (Luke 5:10-11) Here Jesus invites Peter to be a part of his ministry in the world! This love of Christ enabled Peter to love people like Christ had loved him, and with this, his priorities changed. Now, instead of seeing himself and his needs as most important, he saw loving God and people as his first priority. He was no longer a professional fisherman, instead, he ministered to others and started churches, he preached and was persecuted and then, according to history was crucified upside-down because of his love for God and people. By accepting this invitation Peter is putting himself second, something we are invited into as well.
We are called to live our lives completely for the glory of God, just like Christ did. Unlike Jesus, we won’t always get it right, we will fail and mess up and probably be frustrated with ourselves at times, but through His grace and forgiveness and power we can follow God and accept each and every one of His invitations. God is alive and moving, and every day He is inviting us to take part in His story of the redemption of the world through His daily invitations to hope, believe and love.
By Sydney Gautier