In Luke 5.5 we have Simon Peter using the words of the title above. He did not come close to understanding the reason for letting the net down, as the Lord had just directed him (he openly questioned its wisdom), but he would do so at His word. He presents to us here one of the most remarkable instances of unquestioning obedience that is to be found in all of Scripture. 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 (Luke 5.5).
I found some interesting comments about this incident from the late and great Bible scholar, Franklin Camp. He writes…
When one considers that Christ was a carpenter and Peter a fisherman one can imagine Peter’s thoughts. Just think of a carpenter telling a fisherman how to fish. It is even more suggestive in view of the fact they had fished all night and caught nothing. I think I can sense how Peter felt. It is as though he would say, “I do not think it will do any good, but we will do what you say.” The way to overcome doubt and questions about divine commands is to obey what the Lord says. Think what would have happened if Peter had just flatly refused to obey. Christ would not have forced him to let the nets down.
Discipleship is a challenge to faith. A disciple is a learner. Christ is the teacher. One does not learn by refusing to do what the Lord commands. Multitudes have found to their joy that blessings come when faith accepts the challenge and launches out in obedience to His will [Franklin Camp, Studies in Luke, Thomas Eaves, editor, p. 68-69].
I really like brother Camp’s statement: The way to overcome doubt and questions about divine commands is to obey what the Lord says. That seems to me to be quite a simple and yet elegant approach to life. The fact of the matter is, we will NEVER go wrong in following that prescription.
If we will only partake of the spirit of obedience demonstrated on this occasion by Simon Peter, we will certainly be the winners as a result! The result for Peter was that he hauled in such a multitude of fish that the nets began breaking (v. 6) and the boats began sinking (v. 7). The result for us is that we will live eternally in the beautiful home of the soul (John 14.1-6).
I have always been moved by the words Peter exclaims after seeing the Lord show His great power in the field which was Peter’s specialty. Listen to his statement of awe: Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord (Luke 5.8). Peter seems to me to be acknowledging that he was unable to show Jesus the respect and reverence He deserved and that he thus was not suitable to be in Jesus’ presence.
Thankfully, the Lord intervenes with words of encouragement to Peter, James, and John: Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men (v. 10). Read a little further and see that Peter, James, and John were ready to forsake all and follow Jesus (v. 11). They knew well that one who could do what they had just seen done would be able to provide anything they might possibly need.
Notice also, brother Camp’s statement: Multitudes have found to their joy that blessings come when faith accepts the challenge and launches out in obedience to His will. On one occasion an attempt was made to praise the mother of Jesus. His response at that time was to redirect the praise: Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it (Luke 11.28). The importance of unquestioning obedience to the will of the Lord needs to be emphasized more and more.
What advantage you and I have as we open our Bibles and have so freely available the amazing, completed, written, revelation from God! We can read about this miracle performed by Jesus and so many more. John tells us that there is a REASON for the recording of such powerful signs—John 20.30-31… And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
Having LIFE through the name of Jesus is dependent upon believing that Jesus is the Christ! When we truly believe that fact, is it really any challenge to behave in the same way that Peter did in giving such a faithful response to the Lord’s command in Luke 5.5? Let us be challenged by the beautiful response of the Apostle Peter and say to the Lord, regarding whatever command might be given: AT THY WORD.