Luke 5:1-11—The Calling of the Apostles
Luke 5:1-11 is also similarly told in Matthew 4:18-22 and Mark 1:16-20.
The Lake of Gennesaret, as mentioned in this scripture reading, is the Sea of Galilee and this is where the “reputed pillars” of the Jewish Christian community (Gal. 2:1-10): Simon Peter, James and John were called by the Lord. Reading the parallel texts of Mt. 4:18-22 and Mk 1:16-20, as well as the content of John’s text 1:35-2:11, we learn that Jesus actually spent some time with Peter, James and John so they could learn from Him before He called them to be His Apostles in this Gospel reading (Luke 5:1-11). Calling them to be His Apostles required a bigger commitment than just listening to His teachings (John 1:35-2:11). It involved leaving their livelihood and their families for a time to follow Jesus.
Biblical scholars have noted that the chronological sequence is a little different when comparing the three Gospels of Luke, Matthew and Mark. Even though some scholars question the sequence of events, most agree that there is a clear symbolic meaning of Jesus’ action of stepping into Simon Peter’s boat and telling him to put out a little from the land for the preaching to the multitude and then later, Jesus tells Simon Peter to put out into the deep and let down their nets for the catch of fish that was so full they almost began to sink. This symbolic meaning that the scholars are referring to is that Jesus wants Simon Peter, James and John to go beyond their own Jewish people and bring the Lord’s Word to the Gentles. Most Orthodox theologians also think that the great catch of fish fulfills the prophesy in the Old Testament of Jeremiah 16:16, “…says the Lord….behold ….I will send many fishermen, and they will fish them.”. In the Orthodox Christian Church, the faithful further hear this lesson on Pentecost when the church hymns, “through the fisherman, You drew the world into Your net”.
References: Lawrence Farley, The Gospel of Luke, Good News for the Poor, Conciliar Press; Walter Liefeld, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary Vol. 8; Zondervan; Paul Tarazi, Luke and Acts, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, KJV.