And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.
Jesus had been healing the sick and casting out devils as He made His way through the land and He came to the lake of Gennesaret. Gennesaret was the early name of the Sea of Galilee and in the Hebrew means a harp. It was a very lovely and fertile region.
Upon arriving there Jesus saw, “two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.” The two ships belonged to Simon Peter, James and John and they had worked all night without catching any fish. Their ships and their nets were empty. Jesus entered into Simon Peter’s empty ship and pushed out from the shore a little ways where Jesus sat in the ship and taught the people.
Afterwards Jesus sent Simon Peter, James and John back out onto the lake to fish again. In Luke 5:5 Peter says to Jesus, “And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.” When they had obeyed Peter caught such a multitude of fish that it broke their nets and filled up two boats. When Peter saw the great catch of fish he fell at Jesus feet and began confessing his sinfulness. It was at this point that Jesus told Peter to fear not because from this point on he would be a fisher of men.
The two ships then returned to land and Simon Peter, James and John forsook all and followed Jesus.
It is strange, to the human mind, how that the Lord works in our life. Just when it seems that we have finally began to prosper at what we’ve worked at all our lives, i.e. fishing, it is time to forsake everything and follow Jesus off on a new journey.
The ship could be seen as a picture of our humanity and thus why Simon Peter felt compelled to repent when Jesus entered the ship and began to bless Simon’s obedience. The fact that obedience could release such a blessing in their ship as they physically labored convinced them that the right thing to do was to forsake all and follow Jesus.
All too often we see Jesus’ blessings on our natural labors as a sign that we have arrived and finally got this spiritual thing right. The reality is that whatever blessings are bestowed upon us today is to teach us that we are to forsake all other idols of success, fame and fortune that we may be embracing within our ship and to love the LORD with all our being and our neighbor as ourself. Matthew 22:40, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”