Richard Whitaker- Discipleship and Connections Pastor LHBC

Luke 5:1-10
One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” (NIV) Luke 5:1-10

I once thought of myself as somewhat of an expert in the use of Enable and Harvard Graphics.  I read the books on how to use these old software programs and dutifully created documents and systems to support my work. They were trustworthy tools of the trade.  Due to my experience and comfort with these programs, I was perturbed when our “know-it-all” IT specialist began to transition the entire organization to an upstart wannabe software – Microsoft Office.  I protested and resisted, but to no avail and after about six months it was obvious to everyone that Microsoft Office was far superior.  

Sometimes, we can rely too much on our experience and tradition, especially when God is opening new doors for us.  Our comfort zones serve as barriers to the faith we need to respond to the Holy Spirit and follow the call of God into the deep waters of faith.  We can learn from Peter how to move out of complacency and live a life of radical purpose and meaning. 

Things change when Jesus shows up in our life situation.  Such was the case for Peter, James, and John down on Lake Gennesaret.  After fishing all night with no catch, the men were tiredly cleaning their nets so they could rest and fish another day. After teaching the large crowds from Peter’s boat, Jesus prepares to deliver a faith lesson to the experienced fisherman.  He instructs Peter to “put out into the deep water and let down the nets for a catch.” 

Peter, along with James and John, were master fisherman and nothing about Jesus’ instructions made sense. We can’t blame Peter for being hesitant.  They knew Jesus as a carpenter, not an experienced fisherman.  The time of day was not right and the fish were not known to gather and feed in the deep.  The two crews had been fishing all night, likely trying every fishing trick they knew.  

Tired and weary from no catch, Peter and his companions push out and obediently carry out Jesus’ instructions.  Though Peter’s life was devoted to fishing, he chose to focus on the command of Jesus by casting the nets into the deep water. He set aside his experience and left his comfort zone for the faith zone.  

Like Peter, when we leave the comfort zone for the deep waters of the faith zone, we experience transforming power from God’s throne.  Following Jesus produced a result that was far beyond Peter and his friends’ imaginations.  They saw the glory of God revealed when they did exactly what Jesus said and rowed into deep water for a catch.  

Friend, following Jesus is not about striving.  Following Jesus is simply hearing, trusting, and obeying with speed – within seconds.   Don’t let concerns and past experiences delay you.  Move quickly to obey King Jesus and watch him fill your nets.

As we consider new commitments and life rhythms after COVID restrictions, will there be room in our lives to make following Jesus our top priority? We can fish for a lot of things in life, but people are the object of God’s love.

As Christ followers, Jesus leads us into a life of fishing for people.  Are we willing to be inconvenienced to obey Jesus at any time and place he calls us to act? Are we willing to cast our nets into the deep and go all-in to fish for our neighbors, coworkers, and friends?

In other words, is there room for Jesus in our boats?  Let us be sure to make room for Jesus to captain our ships and allow him to sail us out of complacency into a radical life of deep water faith in every neighborhood, workplace, and gathering place in our city.

Lord Jesus, you are so good to me.  You meet me where I am and when you do I find that you are holy.  I see how I’ve trusted in my tradition and experience and have neglected the new ways that you want to teach me.   Thank you for saving me from my sins and for inviting me, just as I am, into a life of loving others and serving this city.  I want to learn new ways for how to love well.  By your grace, I will not be afraid when you ask me to cast my net into the deep waters of serving a lost world for the sake of proclaiming your good news.  I trust you to guide me and I will be sure to leave the catch up to you.   In Jesus name, Amen.

2 Thessalonians 3:5
May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ