Catching People with the Gospel
Jesus said to Simon, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.”
When you have a real experience with God, you realize it’s not about you; it’s about Him. You realize how unholy you are in the face of the One who is absolute holiness.
Isn’t that exactly the experience Job had? When Job had an experience with God, he said, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees You; therefore I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6). Remember, Job wasn’t a murderer, an adulterer, or a drug dealer. He was “blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil” (Job 1:1). Yet when he had a face-to-face confrontation with God, Job repented of his sin. When you come into the presence of God, you realize that there is a great chasm between God and you.
That was Peter’s experience in Luke 5:8. And how did the Lord respond? “Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men” (v. 10). In other words, “Peter, no matter what you were doing, you have a new beginning. You were catching fish, but now you are going to catch men.” That Greek verb used for “catching” in this verse means “to catch people alive.” This Greek verb is used only one other time in the New Testament, in 2 Timothy 2:24-26: “The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.” The only time this Greek verb is used in the Bible, other than in Luke, is in reference to Satan, who catches people alive.
We are born not as moral free agents but as prisoners of Satan. We are held captive by sin and by Satan. Remember this: Satan hates you and has a terrible plan for your life. And when you are born into this world, you are in his domain whether you realize it or not. Only the gospel of Jesus Christ can set us free from the domain of Satan and deliver us into the kingdom of God. Jesus was saying to Peter, “I invite you to join Me on this search-and-rescue mission, to help catch people alive, to deliver them from the grip that Satan has on their lives and to deliver them into the presence of God.” By the way, that is exactly the same mission that God has given you and me: “Come and join Me in catching people alive with the gospel.”
What was the disciples’ response? Luke 5:11 says, “When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.” When they realized who Jesus was, they left their boats–their means of livelihood. And apparently they also left behind the fish that they had been so excited about a few moments earlier. They left everything in order to follow Jesus.
~ Dr. Robert Jeffress ~