Eyes of the Heart Studio

Fishers of Men

An icon of Jesus in the boat with Peter, James and John, as He commissions them to be fishers of men.

Medium: Mixed Media (mostly coloured pencil)

Credit: This image was referenced, in part, from an existing icon, Pescurirea Minunata, found at www.icoane-ortodoxe.ro.

The Call of Simon: Luke 5:1-10

While the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennes′aret. 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 ceased 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 great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking, they 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. 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 was astonished, and all that were with him, at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zeb′edee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men.”


This image depicts the call of Simon Peter, together with James and John – the most intimate of the Lord’s disciples. The Lord’s hand is raised in benediction, as their nets are overwhelmed by so massive a catch of fish. Simon, James and John would be forever changed by the encounter, which appointed them fishers of men.

The Church has long been referred to as the “barque of Peter”. The Holy Spirit is the wind in her sails, and despite the sinfulness of the souls in her keeping, He remains at the helm. I drew the Papal emblem on the sail because Christ promised Peter, his first pontiff, that the gates of Hell would not prevail against her (Matthew 16:18).

The Church is both divine and human: Christ weds His divinity to our human frailty, pouring His power into us, His earthen vessels. As with Peter, the Lord does not depart from us because we are weak and sinful. Rather, He asks his children to PUT OUT INTO THE DEEP with Him. I like to think of these words as a divine invitation to really go deep with the Lord in prayer. We are often afraid to allow Jesus into the inmost regions of our hearts – regions that contain our secret fears, doubts, insecurities, wounds and sins. However, until we are willing to enter into those deep places with Christ, we have shackled the Holy Spirit, who longs to renew us from the depths of our being. Grace will lead us to engage those deep places and not run from them.

Let us pray for the courage to open wide our hearts to Christ, that the Holy Spirit may be free to enter in and transform us into the saints He created us to be. The lives of the saints bear so much fruit because, having opened their hearts to grace, it is the Lord who is at work in them. It is Christ who fills the nets, not us. When we obey His command to put out into the deep with Him, surrendering ourselves wholly to Him in prayer, He will anoint our lives with His divine power, filling our nets beyond our greatest expectations.