Luke 5:11

ESV And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.
NIV So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
NASB When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.
CSB Then they brought the boats to land, left everything, and followed him.
NLT And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.
KJV And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.

What does Luke 5:11 mean?

Luke 5:1—6:16 records the story of Jesus choosing His twelve primary disciples. He starts with four fishermen: Peter, Andrew, James, and John. In Luke's account, Peter is primary, possibly because of his later role in the leadership of the church. Another likely reason is because he exhibits the first quality Jesus looks for in any disciple: humility.

The fishermen are bringing their boats to land because Jesus caused them to catch so many fish that nets started breaking. When Peter realizes Jesus has the power of God to fill their boats with fish, he admits his own unworthy state. Humility and an acknowledgment of Jesus' holiness are essential for disciples. Jesus calls Peter and the others to follow Him, and they do so (Luke 5:1–10).

After Jesus calls the fishermen, Luke tells two stories of other attributes Jesus looks for in a disciple and what He offers in return. When Jesus heals a man's leprosy, He doesn't only physically cure his horrible disease. He also grants him ceremonial cleanness so he can properly worship God in the temple again and reenter society (Luke 5:12–16). When Jesus meets the paralytic, He praises the man's friends' faith and grants the man forgiveness (Luke 5:17–26).

Finally, Jesus will call Levi the tax collector. When the Pharisees question why such a self-proclaimed holy man would dine with sinners such as Levi and his guests, Jesus tells them those who are already holy—meaning those who perceive themselves that way—are of no use to Him. Sinners who repent have the humility and faith that characterize faithful followers who can spread the message of the kingdom of God (Luke 5:27–32).

The specific chronology of Jesus calling the fishermen is difficult to ascertain. We know that Andrew and Peter met Jesus some time before while listening to John the Baptist (John 1:35–42). Matthew 4:18–22 and Mark 1:16–20 also record Jesus calling the four but not the story of the fish. Academics debate nuances such as whether Peter and Andrew were casting their nets or washing them, as well as if or why James and John were mending their nets. Others insist that in Luke 5:10 Jesus gives Peter a new vocation while in Mark and Matthew He gives the men a spiritual calling. None of these are insurmountable differences, and these may or may not be different occasions.

It doesn't matter and it's not the point of the passage. We can trust that events occurred as the writers of Scripture described, despite a particular writer emphasizing specific aspects and leaving other points out. Accuracy does not demand every detail be revealed. Luke, a fellow messenger of the kingdom of God, tells us what the Holy Spirit inspired him to share: Jesus displayed the power of God and Peter reacted with humility. When Peter did so, Jesus invited him into mission.
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