Each of the four Gospels tells of the call of the first disciples. Luke’s account is distinctive. This is the only account of the call stories to mention the great catch of fish. The crowds are pressing in on Jesus, excited to see the young prophet, and hoping to hear “the word of God” (v. 1). Jesus’ preaching is all about the kingdom of God. Teachers sit to teach. The boat becomes his pulpit—a solution to the press of the crowd (v. 1b).
Jesus said to Simon, ‘Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.’ These words constitute a test for Simon. Simon’s common sense tells him that there is no reason to try again. But nevertheless addresses Jesus as Master (Greek: epistata), a title used in the Gospels for Jesus only in Luke and used only by the disciples. These abundance miracles have two common characteristics: (1) they meet human needs and (2) they demonstrate God’s power. The outcome of this particular miracle is that the disciples “left everything, and followed him” (v. 11).
This is an epiphany story—a moment of sudden insight. God calls whom God calls—and God often gets the best mileage out of the least likely candidates. We have largely lost our sense of wonder and fear in God’s presence. Discipleship, then, means shifting one’s concerns from the things of this world to the things of God.