So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. Luke 5:11 NIV
I am challenged by the three men’s response to Jesus. There is a finality in this statement that is almost frightening. Simon, James and John had been building their fishing business for years. There is nothing to indicate how successful they had been but presumably they were not wealthy men. Their livelihood was dependent on their hard daily labor and usually a bad night such as the one they had just had would have been a source of stress and anxiety.
Of course, the miracle they had just witnessed must have given them a boost. They were stunned, awed by Jesus’ apparent power over nature. They were dependent on the vagaries of the winds and the weather, but even with all their knowledge of fishing they could never be completely certain of a catch. They knew there would be times when they caught nothing. This night had been one of those nights. It was depressing and they worried about a change in their fortune. They couldn’t afford too many nights like this.
Jesus rescued the situation. With a miracle. The business would remain viable. They could look forward to the future not with anxiety and dread, but with the knowledge that things could continue.
But Simon, James and John had forgotten fishing. They could think of nothing but the glimpse of a vision for the future that Jesus gave them when he said,
“Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.”
So they pulled up their boats on the shore, left everything and followed him! Just like that, their lives were turned upside down, they went from the relative security of a job they knew and a reasonably steady income, to complete uncertainty, with a job description they could barely understand. All because of the totally unexpected intervention of Jesus in their lives.
Luke, who was recording this encounter, could identify. He hadn’t met Jesus in the flesh, but he had encountered him through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Luke was a doctor, and had a guaranteed source of income. But he experienced the same thing as the fishermen. He was so stunned by Jesus that he abandoned his career, left everything, and followed Jesus. He exchanged income and status for identification with a controversial figure who he had become convinced could change the world. From then on Luke would devote his energies to the cause of Jesus.
Am I as convinced by Jesus to do the same?