5:1 Now 1 Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, 2 and the crowd was pressing around him 3 to hear the word of God. 5:2 He 4 saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. 5:3 He got into 5 one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then 6 Jesus 7 sat down 8 and taught the crowds from the boat. 5:4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and lower 9 your nets for a catch.” 5:5 Simon 10 answered, 11 “Master, 12 we worked hard all night and caught nothing! But at your word 13 I will lower 14 the nets.” 5:6 When 15 they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets started to tear. 16 5:7 So 17 they motioned 18 to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they were about to sink. 19 5:8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, 20 for I am a sinful man!” 21 5:9 For 22 Peter 23 and all who were with him were astonished 24 at the catch of fish that they had taken, 5:10 and so were James and John, Zebedee’s sons, who were Simon’s business partners. 25 Then 26 Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on 27 you will be catching people.” 28 5:11 So 29 when they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed 30 him.
[5:1] 1 tn Grk “Now it happened that.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.
[5:8] 20 sn Lord is a term of high respect in this context. God’s presence in the work of Jesus makes Peter recognize his authority. This vocative is common in Luke (20 times), but does not yet have its full confessional force.
[5:8] 21 sn Peter was intimidated that someone who was obviously working with divine backing was in his presence (“Go away from me”). He feared his sinfulness might lead to judgment, but Jesus would show him otherwise.
[5:10] sn The kind of fishing envisioned was net – not line – fishing, which involved a circular net that had heavy weights around its perimeter. The occupation of fisherman was labor-intensive. The imagery of using a lure and a line (and waiting for the fish to strike) is thus foreign to this text. Rather, the imagery of a fisherman involved much strain, long hours, and often little results. Jesus’ point may have been one or more of the following: the strenuousness of evangelism, the work ethic that it required, persistence and dedication to the task (often in spite of minimal results), the infinite value of the new “catch” (viz., people), and perhaps an eschatological theme of snatching people from judgment (cf. W. L. Lane, Mark [NICNT], 67; D. L. Bock, Luke [BECNT], 1:461). If this last motif is in view, then catching people is the opposite of catching fish: The fish would be caught, killed, cooked, and eaten; people would be caught so as to remove them from eternal destruction and to give them new life. With the statement “You will be catching people” Jesus turns the miracle into a metaphor for mission.