The Life and Teachings
of Jesus
A Restatement of the Gospels

VIII. Eventful Times at Capernaum

31. The Large Catch of Fish

        31And Jesus went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee.a
        1While the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret (Sea of Galilee). 2And he saw two boats by the lake; but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3Getting into one of the boats, which was being used by a man named Simon, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
        4And when he had ceased speaking he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”
        5And Simon answered: “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.”
        6And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking, 7they 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. 8But when Simon saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying: “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” 9For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the catch of fishb which they had taken.
        11And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.
        (Lk. 4:31, 5:1–9, 11)

a   “And Jesus went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee.”—Summary of recent events (Sec. VII): Following Jesus' choosing, ordaining, and training the twelve apostles, he begins his public ministry by leaving Galilee and attending the feast of the Passover at Jerusalem. Here he meets with Nicodemus and has a memorable discussion on “the birth of the spirit.” He returns to Galilee through Samaria. He meets a woman at Jacob's well and reveals to her that he is the expected deliverer. She tells the people of the town about Jesus and he is well received by the Samaritans. Jesus teaches the apostles about prayer and gives them The Lord's Prayer. Jesus receives a message from John, who is in prison, and sends him a return message. Jesus then speaks of John to the crowd, describing him as more than a prophet and saying that “among those born of woman there has risen no one greater than John.” Soon after receiving Jesus' message, John the Baptist is beheaded by Herod. This event will mark the beginning of a more aggressive phase of Jesus' ministry. He and his apostles now journey back to Capernaum, and from this home base he launches his first open and public preaching tour of Galilee.

b   “For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the catch of fish”—This was certainly an extraordinary occurrence, but perhaps not a miracle. Jesus was a fisherman, probably an expert fisherman, and quite familiar with the Sea of Galilee. Perhaps he merely directed the fishermen to the fish's habitat at that particular time of the day and season. The Jews were miracle minded and tended to view all such unusual episodes as miraculous happenings.

Lk. 4:31  And Jesus went / And he went (RSV)
Lk. 5:1   Gennesaret (Sea of Galilee). / Gennesaret. (RSV)
Lk. 5:3   was being used by a man named Simon, he / was Simon's, he (RSV)
Lk. 5:8   Simon saw / Simon Peter saw (RSV)   (145:0,1/1628–9)