Often those people who wish to tell us that there is more than one way to God are actually irreligious people. They neither attend any religious service regularly (Christian or otherwise) or show any concern for God and his ways, other than to parrot the claim that more than one road leads to God. It is astonishing that they are taken so seriously. In any other way of life they would be brushed off as ignorant people who have no idea about what they claim. Would a doctor take a stone mason’s remedy for cancer seriously? Would an astronomer take into consideration what a man told him about the moon, simply because the man owned a pair of field glasses? Would the star quarterback on the losing team in the Super Bowl believe what the Monday-morning-quarterbacks claimed went wrong in the game, just before they got into their vans to deliver their company’s goods to the local stores?
While Peter could have been anywhere, and Jesus would have found him, Peter could have found God nowhere but in Jesus (Luke 10:22; John 14:6). Without Jesus, Peter and his partners worked the entire night without a catch. Their nets were empty, and their labor was in vain (Luke 5:5). Nevertheless, at Jesus command the net was full to the point of breaking; the ships were full to the point of sinking, and all this was done with only a little labor on Peter’s part. It was the Lord who did the work—he called for the catch.
Why this miracle, and how did it convince Peter and his fellows that Jesus was enough? What in it enabled the men to leave their nets and follow Jesus? After all, what possible profit could there be in living the life of a disciple—a student? While following Jesus is not a matter of “What’s in it for me?”, one does have to ask: “Can I survive in doing so?” Nevertheless, this miracle caused Peter to see Jesus not only as Master (Luke 5:5) but as Lord (Luke 5:8)! How should we understand this?
Although Luke doesn’t testify to it, a similar event took place after Jesus’ resurrection, and we find this account in the Gospel of John. Peter was discouraged over his performance then, just as he was discouraged here that he didn’t obey Jesus completely to let down the nets (plural). His obedience was wanting. Later, Peter was discouraged over his denying Jesus, so he decided he was unworthy to be an apostle and went back to the fishing business (John 21:2-3; cf. Luke 5:8), but again he labored all night and caught nothing. In Luke Peter felt unworthy, because he was astonished over what Jesus did. Comparing this with his own lame attempt at obedience, caused Peter to see his sinfulness, unworthy to be in Jesus’ presence. In John it was again Peter’s performance taken in contrast with the understanding that Jesus rose from the dead, that caused Peter to believe he should return to his old manner of life. After all, if he hadn’t really learned his lesson after 3½ years, what should he expect of himself in the future. How could he ever be worthy enough to serve his God? What proof had he that he would not always be a failure?
First of all, this particular miracle showed the disciples that Jesus had power over wealth. He would later ask them if they ever felt the lack of the necessities of life, and they would be able to reply that they never needed anything (Luke 22:35). Secondly, and most importantly, the miracle showed Jesus exercised the power of God. The fact is that Jesus came precisely to destroy the works of the devil (1John 3:8), and that we might have life abundantly (John 10:10). Fear is not from God; it comes from the enemy (2Timothy 1:7). Nevertheless, Love, the fruit of the Spirit of God within us, casts out the demon of fear (1John 4:18). It was precisely because Peter was a sinner—and that you and I are sinners—that we are granted communion with Jesus. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29) and cleanses us from every sinful deed we commit (1John 1:7). It is the Holy Spirit working within us that empowers us to succeed in the work in which we would otherwise fail and labor all night (throughout our lives) in vain (cf. Luke 5:5 and John 21:3).