If the workers obediently cast their nets into the deep Christ’s way then those drawn into the net will be genuine because they are effectually called by God Himself. When He saves someone, it is always genuine for it is not simply a human decision, but it is the result of the washing of regeneration and belief in Jesus as Lord and Saviour. These are justified by God’s grace through the faith given to them by Him.
4 When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Luke 5:4 (NASB)
The builder and sustainer of the Church, the Body of Christ, is the Lord Jesus not any man (Matthew 16:18). The building of the true Church is accomplished as God works through the foolishness of preaching to draw people from the darkness into the light and life that is found in Christ alone. It is built up in Christ through the means of grace, which are ordained by God not men. While we see that it is God who actually is doing the building, He has chosen to work through His servants to accomplish that which will bring Him glory. These servants that He uses as fishers of men are symbolically like the fishermen in their boats on the Sea of Galilee who cast their nets to catch fish to sell as their business. Let us make some comparisons.
1 Now it happened that while the crowd was pressing around Him and listening to the word of God, He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret; 2 and He saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake; but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. 3 And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the people from the boat. 4 When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.” 6 When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; 7 so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. Luke 5:1-7 (NASB)
This event happened immediately prior to our Lord calling His first disciples. Notice that without our Lord being with Peter, James and John they toiled all night and caught nothing. However, our Lord got in the boat, taught the people and told Peter, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” The difference this time was that this is a divine command, although Peter does not know it. The partners who had to come and help drag the great catch to shore were the brothers James and John. I don’t often like to make these sorts of analogies from Scripture for I have heard so many that are man-made things that some take and overuse to the deception of many. However, in this case, we are looking at something our Lord used to teach these men the truth about God and how He uses His servants to do His will in the preaching of the Gospel and the building of His Church.
If we compare the mindset of many Christians, they believe that it is their efforts, their ideas, their inovations that when added to preaching the gospel (if it even includes it) that will cause numbers to go up and that many will be added to the Kingdom because of their efforts. From this analogy, however, we learn that a true catch, the saving of many souls is always the work of God as He labors through His obedient servants. If He is not present then the fruit will not be genuine. If our Lord is not part of an evangelical push then it can only accomplish what men can do. Some may ‘decide for Jesus’ as the result of the entertainment or the glitz or the personality of the preacher, but is it genuine? No, it is as these fishermen laboring all night and catching nothing. However, if the workers obediently cast their nets into the deep Christ’s way then those drawn into the net will be genuine because they are effectually called by God Himself. When He saves someone, it is always genuine for it is not simply a human decision, but it is the result of the washing of regeneration and belief in Jesus as Lord and Saviour. These are justified by God’s grace through the faith given to them by Him. Numbers may or may not be large, but these who are effectually called and drawn by God are the real deal. The “catch” is miraculous for it is God’s work not man’s.