The Sunday gospel lectionary reading for the fourth Sunday before Lent in Year C is Luke 5.1–11, the story of the miraculous catch of fish, as we jump forward into Jesus’ ministry before returning to the temptations in the desert at the start of Lent. It is a captivating story in its own right, but it also raises questions about the connections with the account in Mark 1 of the call of the disciples and the story in John 21 of a similar miraculous catch after Jesus’ resurrection.
The narrative is both full of what looks like eye-witness detail, but told in Luke’s distinctive style. The opening sentence runs through verses 1 and 2, and is structured with several subordinate clauses (‘hypotaxis’) in contrast with Mark’s typical paratactical style in narratives (‘and…and…’). There is a vivid sense of the crowd pressing in on Jesus; I cannot think of another place in the gospels where this physical sense of crowding in is expressed in quite the same way. They have come to hear ‘the word of God’, which is Luke’s distinctive term for Jesus’ message of the kingdom (in Matt 15.6 = Mark 7.13 and John 10.35 the phrase refers to the Scriptures). Luke uses the phrase in the gospel where it is not present in the parallel accounts (as in Luke 8.11 and Luke 8.21) and in Acts it becomes a term for the message of the gospel (Acts 4.31, 6.2, 8.14, 12.24 and so on) as it often does in Paul (1 Cor 14.36, 1 Thess 2.13 and elsewhere) thus expressing the continuity between the Old Testament, Jesus’ teaching, and the apostolic proclamation.
For a full analysis, see the previous article here. Click below to watch the conversation between James and Ian on the passage, including engaging with some interesting questions that were asked about the passage, its meaning, and its application in reading and preaching.
6 thoughts on “The miraculous catch of fish in Luke 5 video”
II am interested in the fact that in Mark and Matthew the accounts are virtually identical and give no reference to the disciples ever having encountered Jesus prior to this calling. In Luke’s gospel Simon, and probably his fellow fisherman had already met him : Jesus had been to Simon’s house and healed his mother-in-law. In Luke’s account there is no mention of Andrew. In John’s gospel Andrew seems to have been the main mover and shaker. He was already a disciple of John and when John revealed Jesus to be the Messiah Andrew brought Simon to Jesus. I would welcome your thoughts and knowledge
Yes, it is interesting, and I think two things come out of it.
First, the evidence of the other gospels is that Mark’s very abbreviated account in Mark 1 gives a ‘false’ impression if we take it as a serious chronology. It looks from a naive reading as though the first time Jesus sees Peter he calls him—but at every level that is implausible. If we took the rest of Mark’s chronology at face value, Jesus only ministered for a few months—and only taught for an hour!
Second, and this follows, it makes it clear that, whilst the gospel writers are at some pains to offer a faithful account of the things Jesus did and said, they have put all these things in an order which suits their purpose. They are arrangers and interpreters of Jesus’ teaching and actions, not mere recorders. I think that is integral to the notion of ‘eye-witness testimony’.
Does that help?
Thank you. Why do you think John’s account is so remarkably different?
There appears to be a reference to Jesus’ knees in Luke 22:41.
Not sure I see a connection…?
In the video, you all thought that this was the only reference to Jesus’ knees in the NT. This appears to be another one. That’s all.