Cleansing Nets (verses 1-3)
The multitudes of people throng around the Lord as He stands by Lake Gennesaret. This lake is also called the Sea of Tiberius and the Sea of Galilee. They had a desire to hear the word of God taught, and so should we. There were two ships berthed at the edge of the lake, evidently belonging to Peter and Andrew and James and John. The night’s fishing was over, and they were washing their nets to prepare them for future use. This is a Divine principle, that vessels should be clean if they are going to be usable, and we, as God’s people, experience ongoing cleansing through our exposure to the word of God. The Lord said in John 15.3: “Now ye are clean through the word I have spoken unto you.” Jesus goes into Simon Peter’s boat and asks him to push out a little from the shore. The boat became His platform to speak to the multitude, and He sat down to teach them the word of God.
Catching Fish (verses 4-11)
After the preaching, Peter was told to sail out into deeper water and let down his nets. Peter is a bit reluctant, as they have spent the whole night fishing this part of the sea and have caught nothing. Nevertheless, he agrees to let down a net as the Lord instructed. Notice, he doesn’t do exactly what he was told, as the Lord said let down the nets, plural. Peter only let down a single net. As a result, when they enclosed a great multitude of fish, the net was beginning to break. Having called for their partners to bring the other ship, they took in such a catch that both ships were in danger of sinking. No doubt, this was a lesson on complete obedience for Peter, but he also became conscious of his own sinfulness in the presence of the Lord Jesus. Peter and all the others were astonished at the miracle. The Lord encouraged Peter not to be afraid and revealed to him that, from now on, he would catch men through the preaching of the word of the Lord. As soon as they arrived at land, they left everything, their business and their families, and became followers of the Lord Jesus.
Curing the Leper (verses 12-14)
The Lord moves from the seaside to the city, and encounters a man in the very advanced stages of leprosy. The man is not afraid to get down before the Lord, and falls on his face, pleading with the Lord to cleanse him. Note, he did not doubt the ability of the Lord to cure him, but was unsure if this was His will. Dramatically, the hand of the Lord went out and touched the leper. Luke, in a number of passages, draws attention to the touch of Christ. What compassion it showed, as no one else would have dared to touch a man in such a condition, in case they were defiled. The Lord says: “I will be thou clean,” and the man is immediately and completely made whole. The man is required by the Lord to tell no one else what has happened to him, but to fulfil the requirements of the law and show himself to the priest, who would ceremonially pronounce the man clean.
Continuing Ministry (verses 15-17)
However, the fame of what the Lord was able to do was spread even further, and great multitudes came to hear and to be healed. The Lord again withdraws from them all into the wilderness for a time of prayer with the Father. The impact that the Lord was making had come to the attention of the Pharisees and the doctors of the law, and they came from all the towns of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem to listen to Him. Note, Luke emphasises the power of the Lord that was present to heal, and how significant it is that power follows prayer, teaching us how dependent we are upon Him.