Disciples hear the call and respond without hesitation
Some commentators feel that Luke may have borrowed this story from John’s account of the disciples going fishing at the end of that gospel. It has been noted that Simon calls Jesus “Lord,” a post-resurrection title and refers to his sinfulness, which makes more sense after his triple denial during the Passion. It also looks forward to Peter’s leadership which is confirmed in the same chapter of John.
Jesus then reassures Simon and his companions: “Do not be afraid.” They are words they will hear again; because he is calling them to be his partners in the work of building his Kingdom. The huge catch of fish made by the boat in which Jesus and Peter were is a sign of a much greater catch of people to be made by the new community led by the Spirit of Jesus and under the leadership of Peter.
Unlike the other gospels, Luke has a period of teaching and miracles precede the call of the disciples. This makes their unhesitating response less surprising and more plausible. They heard the message, they accepted the call and “with that they brought their boats to land, left everything, and become his followers.” In Mark and Matthew they left their nets and boats. In Luke’s gospel especially, the following of Jesus is understood as absolute – one must leave everything and throw in one’s lot totally with Jesus wherever that will lead. Those boats and nets were the security on which the lives of Peter, his companions and their families depended. But they left them and everything else. This is faith, this is trust. Without it, the mission cannot succeed.
From a reflection on the Sacred Space website