In Luke chapter 5 we are given a narrative of a moment along the shore of the lake of Gennesaret…
1On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3 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. 4 And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” 6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. 7 They signaled 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. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” 9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” 11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him. – Luke 5:1-11 ESV
It sounds like a believable story, doesn’t it. What a wonderful challenge for us in our day. We love the idea of being in ministry for Jesus, we love witnessing His miracles and we love being blessed for being obedient. But what is our response?
The story starts off quite innocent… Peter and the fishing crew were done for the night and they were taking care of their equipment along the shore when Jesus and a crowd begins to gather near them. We have to realize that the crowd was large in size, like to the point Jesus asks Peter to row him out a bit from the shore. So most likely that means there were people all around and most likely Peter and the men were watching their equipment and belongings. They were fishermen, then were not rich and could not afford anyone in the crowd to grab something of theirs.
Jesus asks and Peter obliges in shoving the boat out a bit to create separation from the crowd. You may have been in a similar situation where you suspend your activities and engage with Jesus for a few minutes to support his endeavor….
Jesus does his thing and teaches the crowd on the shore and then he turns to Simon (Peter), directly and says “take me out a bit further”. Oh boy, now we are going to get blessed. I wonder what he has in mind? It is great serving the Creator of all, his abilities are unlimited. We might not openly admit it, but deep down, personally we do like the feeling when we anticipate a blessing in return to our commitment. Like dad taking us to the ice cream shop after a good game.
Then Jesus comes through like only he can. He instructs Peter to drop is nets for his surprise, and just like many of us, Peter begins with dialog proudly defining his fishing knowledge and wisdom, but succumbs to the invitation, since it is Jesus asking. Maybe even with the idea that he will humor Jesus with the event, and maybe Jesus will see the frustration he and the guys experienced last night. Well, yeah, that happens… just not in the fashion that Peter anticipates….
In only the way Jesus could do it, he exceeds expectations. It probably only took a moment for Peter to get past the idea of humoring Jesus and anticipating the booty to come. Little did he know, it was going to be historic. The text indicates that Peter had to call for the guys to bring another boat over to help bring in the haul, and then both boats began to sink. Just supernatural.
Peter and the boys are now in the history books. They are the fisherman that brought in the most fish. They are going to be out of debt, everyone will want to associate with them. We cannot really grasp this blessing; maybe like getting an all-expenses paid vacation; maybe the biggest Publisher’s Clearing House prize, or maybe a free home and vehicle of your choice, or becoming the owner of your favorite sports them, but then, in addition to that grand blessing he provides you with the world’s largest lottery winning prize. Just over the top.
I don’t know about you, but this event would just be unexplainable. I would think pride and arrogance would skyrocket. How could one not just fall back and receive such a blessing. But what does Peter end up doing??? He ends up telling Jesus that he is not worthy of the blessing received. Can’t you just hear it? “I came to help, but you did not have to do all this. It is way more than I deserve.” He bowed down and literally said that he could not associate with him. (Depart from me, I am a sinful man). Then they abandon all they received to follow Jesus…
WOW!! Can you imagine leaving all your prizes and money and winnings behind? They were so overwhelmed with the giver, that it did not matter what they were given. They were astounded by the idea of who he was. Now realistically, they may have had the idea of hanging out with him and he will bless them with even more things, even bigger things.
Challenge yourself today and see how you are dedicated to Jesus. Are you in relationship with him for only what he can do for you? What would life look like if he gave you your wildest dreams?
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Lk 5:1–11). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
The biggest challenge in the event…