A Caller that Compels


Football in Texas is king. The coaches are rulers over dynasties. At their word, high school boys show up fully dressed in pads at sunrise on sweltering August mornings. They forsake caffeine, run endless laps, and lift insane amount of weights all in hopes of being bigger, stronger, faster. The coach demands authority over the life of his players. What compels the boys to respond is the hope of gridiron glory found in the state championship. 

  • Who or what compels you? How do you decide where to give your time?


5:1 On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 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. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled 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. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that 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; from now on you will be catching men.” 11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.

 English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. Imagine yourself in the crowd by the lake, people pressing in on every side, listening to Jesus. Can you hear what Jesus asked of Simon after he finished teaching (vs. 4)? 
  2. What attitude did Simon display as he responded to Jesus’ unusual request (vs. 5)? Describe what happened on this fishing trip with Jesus (vss. 6-7).
  3. Why did Simon Peter fall to his knees in response to the miracle catch? How did Simon’s fishing partners react?
  4. What was it about Jesus that caused Simon, James, and John to leave everything and follow him?
  5. Are you currently a true follower of Jesus or just a fan? What next step can you take to align your heart with his and accept his call to discipleship and mission?


Simon followed the seemingly crazy command of an outsider instructing him in his profession. Obedience. At the miraculous magnanimity of the catch, Simon fell to his knees, having recognized his sinful state. Proper perspective. When redirected from catching fish to men, Simon, James, and John left everything and followed. Right response. What compels someone to trust, obey, worship, and follow? The key lies not so much in the call, but in the one who calls. Simon Peter’s contact with Jesus’ mighty power became the basis of a promise made to him. The character of the caller compelled him to follow. Jesus is extending this same, generous call of discipleship and mission to you: will you follow?

  • Pray that Jesus will reveal himself to you in a deep and intimate way.
  • Ask him for courage to follow in faith.