Day 1 – Ordinary men follow Jesus

Bible reading: Luke 5:1–11

Jesus asks some men to go with him

1 One day, Jesus was standing on the shore of Lake Gennesaret. A crowd was pushing to get near to him. They were listening to him. He was speaking God's message to them.

5:1‘Lake Gennesaret’ is another name for the ‘Sea of Galilee’. The town called Capernaum is on the shore of this lake.

2 Jesus saw two fishing boats at the edge of the lake. The fishermen had left the boats there and they were now washing their nets.

5:2A fisherman is someone who catches fish. Many of Jesus' disciples were fishermen. They included Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John. The fishermen caught fish from the lake with nets. They tied thin rope together to make these. They washed them after they had been out to catch fish. And then they mended them. The nets were then ready for them to use again.

3 One of the boats belonged to Simon. Jesus climbed into it. He asked Simon to push it away from the shore. Jesus sat in the boat and he started to teach the people.

5:3The boat was a good place for Jesus to sit. The people on the shore could see him and hear him.

4 When Jesus finished teaching, he said to Simon, ‘Now take the boat out into deep water. Then put the nets into the water to catch some fish.’

5 Simon replied, ‘Teacher, we worked all last night and we did not catch anything. But because you say it, I will put the nets into the water again.’ 6 So they went and they put the nets down into the water. When they did that, they caught many fish. There were so many fish that the nets began to break. 7 So Simon shouted to the other fishermen that worked with him. ‘Come here!’ he said, ‘We need you.’ When they saw that, the men came in their boat. They filled both boats with the fish. There were so many fish that the boats began to go down under the water. 8 When Simon saw all the fish, he went down on his knees in front of Jesus. ‘Sir,’ he said, ‘I am a bad man. So please go away from me.’

5:8Simon saw all the fish. Then he knew that God was with Jesus. So, Simon felt that he, himself, was a very bad man. He knew that God does not like bad things.

9 Simon said this because he was very surprised. He was surprised because they had caught so many fish. His friends in the other boat were also very surprised. 10 James and John were very surprised too. They were Zebedee's sons and they worked with Simon. Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid. You have been catching fish. From now on you will catch people!’

5:10Jesus wanted to teach Simon, James and John about ‘catching men’. They would learn how to tell people the good news about Jesus. They had brought fish out of the water. Now they would bring people to Jesus, so that they could believe in him.

11 After that, they went and they pulled their boats up on the shore. Then they left everything behind and they went with Jesus.

Luke 5:1-11 EasyEnglish Bible (EASY)


Things have changed a lot! People these days look uncomfortable if the name of Jesus is even mentioned in conversation – unless it is used as a swear word. But when he actually lived, he was the most popular person you could imagine.

Crowds of people would leave work just to come and listen to him. And it wasn’t like he was a famous musician, attracting huge crowds of young people but having nothing much to offer them.

The man in the boat

People had a sense that God himself cared about them and was speaking to them through this remarkable local carpenter. It did not make them feel embarrassed. It excited them. They were so excited that the Jewish religious authorities began to panic and wanted to get rid of him.

But that was easier said than done. Ordinary people like you and me, not the religious types, crowded around him. And guarded him. Now for the clever part. Jesus got into the boat of one of his fishermen friends and asked him to row out a few yards. And from there he taught the people. A clever idea! Nobody could bother him, but everyone could hear him – and all without sound equipment.

I’ve been to that area and the shore makes a natural auditorium as the water of the lake makes sounds louder. He could easily make himself heard.

Only half the story

When he finished, he turned to Simon, his fisherman friend, and encouraged him to let down the nets to catch some fish. ‘Normally, it would be a waste of time,’ said Simon, ‘Night is the best time and I’ve been out all night and caught nothing – but OK, I’ll try again.’ And they caught such a great number of fish that the nets began to break. This was so amazing that it brought this tough fisherman to his knees.

How could this carpenter, Jesus, know where the fish were? He cried out, ‘Go away from me, Lord, I am a sinful man.’

His friends in the little group of boats saw all the fish he’d caught and were equally amazed. ‘Don’t be afraid, Simon,’ said Jesus, ‘You’ve been fishing for years. Come and join me, and we’ll catch people.’