Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost
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5:1 While the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret.
2 And he saw two boats by the lake; but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets.
3 Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon's, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
4 And when he had ceased speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch."
5 And Simon answered, "Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets."
6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking,
7 they beckoned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.
8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord."
9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the catch of fish which they had taken;
10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men."
11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.
1 ΕΓΕΝΕΤΟ δὲ ἐν τῷ τὸν ὄχλον ἐπικεῖσθαι αὐτῷ τοῦ ἀκούειν τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν ἑστὼς παρὰ τὴν λίμνην Γεννησαρέτ, 2 καὶ εἶδε δύο πλοῖα ἑστῶτα παρὰ τὴν λίμνην· οἱ δὲ ἁλιεῖς ἀποβάντες ἀπ᾿ αὐτῶν ἀπέπλυναν τὰ δίκτυα. 3 ἐμβὰς δὲ εἰς ἓν τῶν πλοίων, ὃ ἦν τοῦ Σίμωνος, ἠρώτησεν αὐτὸν ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς ἐπαναγαγεῖν ὀλίγον· καὶ καθίσας ἐδίδασκεν ἐκ τοῦ πλοίου τοὺς ὄχλους. 4 ὡς δὲ ἐπαύσατο λαλῶν, εἶπε πρὸς τὸν Σίμωνα· ἐπανάγαγε εἰς τὸ βάθος καὶ χαλάσατε τὰ δίκτυα ὑμῶν εἰς ἄγραν. 5 καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Σίμων εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ἐπιστάτα, δι᾿ ὅλης τῆς νυκτὸς κοπιάσαντες οὐδὲν ἐλάβομεν· ἐπὶ δὲ τῷ ρήματί σου χαλάσω τὸ δίκτυον. 6 καὶ τοῦτο ποιήσαντες συνέκλεισαν πλῆθος ἰχθύων πολύ· διερρήγνυτο δὲ τὸ δίκτυον αὐτῶν. 7 καὶ κατένευσαν τοῖς μετόχοις τοῖς ἐν τῷ ἑτέρῳ πλοίῳ τοῦ ἐλθόντας συλλαβέσθαι αὐτοῖς· καὶ ἦλθον καὶ ἔπλησαν ἀμφότερα τὰ πλοῖα, ὥστε βυθίζεσθαι αὐτά. 8 ἰδὼν δὲ Σίμων Πέτρος προσέπεσε τοῖς γόνασιν Ἰησοῦ λέγων· ἔξελθε ἀπ᾿ ἐμοῦ, ὅτι ἀνὴρ ἁμαρτωλός εἰμι, Κύριε· 9 θάμβος γὰρ περιέσχεν αὐτὸν καὶ πάντας τοὺς σὺν αὐτῷ ἐπὶ τῇ ἄγρᾳ τῶν ἰχθύων ᾗ συνέλαβον, 10 ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ Ἰάκωβον καὶ Ἰωάννην, υἱοὺς Ζεβεδαίου, οἳ ἦσαν κοινωνοὶ τῷ Σίμωνι. καὶ εἶπε πρὸς τὸν Σίμωνα ὁ Ἰησοῦς· μὴ φοβοῦ· ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν ἀνθρώπους ἔσῃ ζωγρῶν. 11 καὶ καταγαγόντες τὰ πλοῖα ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν ἀφέντες ἅπαντα ἠκολούθησαν αὐτῷ.
Larger Thought Unit
Today’s reading is a self-contained thought unit. What is interesting here is where Luke places the call of the disciples as opposed to the other three gospels. Here Jesus has already performed three miracles as a prelude to his call to Peter and others. Peter having witnessed these miracles and the power of Christ and his word is bound to heed it even though he says, “we have toiled all night and caught nothing.” It is this power which ultimately convicts Peter and brings him to a confession of his own sinfulness. It is Peter commissioned in his weakness and sin to be an apostle that is most significant and certainly reflects the Pauline experience as well.
This reading is one the richest and clearest pericopes concerning the call of Jesus’ disciples to carry out the gospel to the entire Roman empire. In spite of the apparent failure of the mission, they are to continue their “fishing.” They are to believe that the word of the gospel is the only way of salvation to all, Gentiles as well as Jews. Consequently, Simon is asked to go further “into the deep” (v.4), i.e., not just along the eastern Mediterranean, the area of the Jewish diaspora, but as far as possible toward Rome, the capital of the ‘nations.’ Indeed, the Lord has many “fish” there, even beyond the disciples’ expectations. All the disciples have to do is to put their trust in the “word of God” Jesus is preaching and not to be afraid of the Roman adverse power. They are to leave “everything,” including their reticence, and follow Jesus “into the deep,” away from the ‘security’ offered by Jerusalem. Only by realizing his “sin,” which is to have misunderstood the gospel, Simon becomes Peter, ‘the Rock.’
Charles H. Talbert, Reading Luke, Smith & Helwys Publishing, Macon, GA, 2002; pp 61-64.
Paul Nadim Tarazi, New Testament Introduction, Vol.2: Luke and Acts, St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, Crestwood, NY, 2001; pp.49-50.
Paul Nadim Tarazi, New Testament Introduction, Vol.1: Paul and Mark, St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, Crestwood, NY, 1999; pp.141-43.
Paul Nadim Tarazi, New Testament Introduction, Vol.3: Johannine Writings, St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, Crestwood, NY, 2004; pp.259-263.