This morning I want to challenge you with the most glorious truth about
the Lord Jesus. Most of you I have never met before, and I know nothing
about you. I don’t know whether you’re a committed follower of Jesus;
or someone who’s interested in finding out more about Him; or you’ve
come because this is what you always do on Sunday mornings; or you’re
here somewhat unwillingly because of pressure or an invitation you
But whatever the reason that brings you here this morning, I’m glad that
you’ve come. For whether you are a keen follower of Jesus or not, there
is a certain truth about the Lord Jesus that I want to turn your attention
A truth that will be life-changing if you let it sink in and take hold of
you. A truth that is often overlooked and neglected, though there can be
scarcely any fact of greater significance than the one I’m going to hold
up before you.
The truth that I’m referring to is found in Luke 5:1-11. Of course, such a
wonderful truth is found in many places in the Bible; but I want to draw
your attention to what is revealed about Jesus in this passage from
Luke’s Gospel. Simon, or Simon Peter, comes to realize something of the
truth about the Lord Jesus and His Person – something of His awesome
Presence – and it changes Peter’s life.
1. A Commanding Presence. (verses 1-7)
If people give much thought to Jesus of Nazareth, so often they think of
Him in terms of the Hymn “Gentle Jesus, meek and mild.” But what is
revealed in Luke 5:1-7 is a Jesus with a “commanding presence”.
Someone who takes charge, and is in charge; not someone pushed
around by circumstances.
The crowds have gathered around Jesus to listen to His teaching. That
which Jesus speaks is none other than the Word of God; and the people
sense its power and authority. They want to hear more – not miss even a
And so, they crowd closer. But Jesus takes control of the situation so that
He can better see the people, and be better heard by them. He is near
the water’s edge at the Sea of Galilee, also known as Lake Gennesaret.
Some fishermen are there, with their boats, cleaning up after a fruitless
night’s fishing. The owners are Peter or Simon Peter, Andrew, James and
John – men who’ve previously had private conversation with Jesus
(that’s what you are told in John 1), and they already have a degree of
commitment to Jesus.
Jesus gets into Simon Peter’s boat and asks to be taken a little way from
shore. And Simon obeys. It gives Jesus space, and good acoustics for His
voice over the water.
When the teaching session is over, Jesus, the carpenter, tells Simon, the
fisherman, to push out into deep water and let down his nets. It seems
quite unreasonable. Last night’s fishing was unfruitful, indicating that
there are no schools of fish around. And it’s broad daylight, which is a
most unlikely time to catch fish.
Yet, despite his objections, Simon responds to the presence of Jesus by
obeying. It’s against Peter’s better judgment, but he submits to Jesus as
Master. And the result is such a huge catch of fish that the two boats are
weighed down to the point of sinking. Jesus’ commanding presence
involves either knowing where a large shoal of fish would be at a
particular time; or directing the fish to go there. Either omniscience –
all-knowing; or omnipotence – all-powerful.
This is the real Jesus of the Bible. He takes charge of situations –
whether circumstances, or people, or the fish of the sea. He has this
commanding presence without ever being domineering or unpleasant
or oppressive or dictatorial. A Person who draws you to Himself, as you
see with Simon. Won’t you come closer to Him?
2. A Light-Bulb Moment. (verses 8-10a)
As I said earlier, according to John 1, Peter has previously met with
Jesus. And already his thoughts have been of Jesus being God’s promised
Messiah or Christ – the long-awaited person from God who is God’s
King. He’s heard Jesus teach, and has seen some miracles. But it’s only
now that the light-bulb goes on in Simon’s head. The truth about Jesus
flashes across his mind with a dreadful clarity.
What exactly is it that triggers Simon’s insight? Is it seeing Jesus’
mastery where Peter thought that he was the expert – fishing? Is it
something of what Jesus has just taught, coupled with what can only be
described as a miracle? Whatever the triggering circumstances might
have been, God the Holy Spirit has used them to open Simon’s heart and
mind to the truth about Jesus.
And that’s how it so often is. It may be a situation, or a sermon, or a
word that someone speaks – and suddenly, the light goes on. I mean,
what was it that caused you to see the truth about Jesus, and perhaps
resulted in your conversion? For Tony Morphett, television drama and
documentary scriptwriter, it was reading the Gospels and coming to
realize that he was reading fact, not fiction. For me, I had a light-bulb
moment when I was at university. I attended a Christian camp one
weekend and came to realize that following Jesus involved Him being
Ruler over every part of my life. From then on, my life was changed. In
such ways, God works by His Holy Spirit to give us understanding of the
truth – about Himself; about Jesus – and to bring us to Him.
Well, along with his fellow-fishermen, Peter is astonished at what has
happened. And light floods his mind as he realizes that he is in the
presence of Someone greater than an ordinary man. He sees something
of the divine glory of Jesus – power; lordship; majesty. And he falls
before Jesus with a sense of his own unworthiness. As that godly bishop
of late 19th century England, J.C. Ryle, writes: “The sight of divine
greatness and holiness makes Peter feel strongly his own littleness and
How tragic it is when you become so familiar with the Lord Jesus – so
much at home with His miracles; so accepting of His divine Person –
that you lose that sense of astonishment; that sense of holy, heavenly
majesty. Why not go home and see for yourself the glory of the ascended
Lord Jesus Christ described in Revelation 1:12-18?
How you and I need to sit still before Christ, and marvel afresh at who
Jesus is and what He’s done. To see His dazzling holiness, which shows
up the tainted moral and spiritual imperfection and impurity of your
O that you and I might know more of the glory and grace of the Lord
Jesus Christ. To see Him as He is, and worship Him from humble and
3. A Changed Life. (verses 10b, 11)
It is as a result of this light-bulb moment that Simon, along with Andrew,
James and John, leave their fishing to follow Jesus full-time. Simon is
now ready to answer the call of Christ to Kingdom service. And Jesus
commissions Peter and the other 3 as missionaries sent out to bring
other people to Christ. It’s a turning point in Simon’s life.
In Isaiah 6, you read of the prophet Isaiah being given a vision of the
grandeur and majesty and holiness of God. And he is humbled before
such glory. Then, he is commissioned and sent out to exercise his
In Exodus 3, Moses meets with God at the burning bush. And then, he is
commissioned by God to lead Israel out of slavery in Egypt. The book of
Ezekiel opens with a vision of the glory and majesty of God which
causes Ezekiel to fall face down. And after that, he is commissioned as a
prophet to the exiled people of Israel in Babylon. Saul, who is more
familiar to us as Paul, falls to the ground before the dazzling splendour
of the risen Lord Jesus Christ. He is converted and commissioned as an
apostle of Christ.
Each of these men come face to face with Jehovah/Jesus; and it is this
encounter that enables them to serve him faithfully, despite the
opposition and trials they have in His service. The glory and splendour
of the One they serve is never forgotten; and it sustains them when the
pressures of ministry tempt them to give up.
O that you and I might become transfixed and transformed by the
wonder and majesty of Jesus – the Lord Jesus; the Jesus you meet in the
Bible, and especially in the Gospels. This is the heart of true Christianity:
seeing the truth about Jesus; falling before Him in humble worship; and
responding to His call to “Come; follow Me.”
Meeting with the Jesus of the Gospels is life-changing. Your life has new
directions; a new focus; new desires; a new Master; a new destination.
For every Christian, it will mean service of the Lord Jesus in one way or
another. For some, it will mean a call to full-time missionary or
preaching or ministry work. But whatever it will mean – or does mean
for you – in order that you may keep following Christ and serving Him to
the very end, may God grant you to be overwhelmed by the holy majesty
and divine sovereignty of the Lord Jesus Christ as you meet Him in the
In that boat, on the Sea of Galilee, Peter has a life-changing experience of
the Lord Jesus. There will be ups and downs in his following of Jesus,
just as there are with all of us. But God grants him to persevere through
the trials and persecutions of his apostolic ministry, sustained by the
truth about Jesus that he is first confronted with on that lake. A truth
which is reinforced and added to on Mt. Transfiguration and in the
resurrection appearances. Now, he is able to endure all, for Christ’s sake.
Friends, it is the same holy and majestic Lord of creation and salvation –
the One who’s dazzling perfection shames men – who reveals Himself to
you, and calls you to follow Him. No doubt, your life-changing
experience of Christ will be different to Peter’s – the Lord deals with us
all differently and individually. But let the result be the same –
whole-hearted commitment to Christ all of your life.
This is the glorious and wonderful truth about the Lord Jesus revealed
to you in Luke 5:1-11. Don’t shrug it off or ignore it. Let it sink in. Let it
challenge your previous and possibly inadequate pictures of Jesus. Let it
transform your life, as it did Simon Peter’s.