Luke 5:1-2 (NIV) 1 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, 2 he saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets.
On verses 1-2: I like this observation by Pastor Jon Courson: he notes that back in Jesus’ day fishermen would regularly wash their nets and stretch them at the end of each work day. That way the net would not stink or rot and would remain useful for the long-term. Likewise, if we want to be effective nets that God can use to bring people to Him, we need to be regularly washed with the water of God’s Word and stretched by His Holy Spirit often.
Luke 5:3-11 (NIV) 3 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. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 5 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.” 6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 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. 8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 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 catch men.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
On verses 3-11: Notice that on this day Simon went from being a spectator in the crowd standing on the shore listening to Jesus speak, to being a first time helper of Jesus floating in shallow waters (“Sure, I’ll lend you my boat to sit in and speak”), to taking a bigger risk and going into deep water with Jesus (“”Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets”), to finally becoming a life long follower of Jesus (“So they pulled their boats on shore, left everything and follow him”.)
This wasn’t the first time Simon had met Jesus. In Luke 4 Jesus had gone to Simon’s home and healed his mother-in-law. Even so, here we see that each time Simon risked something to be with Jesus, Simon experienced Jesus’ power. In fact, the bigger the risk Simon took, the more Simon experienced Jesus’ power at work in his life.
What can we learn from this?
Jesus wants us to move, gradually and step by step, from spectators who just show up to hear Jesus speak to disciples who follow Him. You weren’t made to stay a spectator forever. God made you to know Him personally and more and more to be used by Him to impact this world.
When Simon realized that sitting in his boat was the Son of God, Simon cried out, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” (v8) That is because when God begins to work in our lives, often that comes with a conviction of our sin and the realization that we are not worthy to be with God. Amazingly, it’s when we realize that our sins make us unworthy to be with God that we can experience Jesus forgiving us and calling us to a life and a relationship with Him that we could never earn on on our own.
If you want to experience Jesus’ power working in your life, be willing to take a risk with Jesus. Naturally I tend to be a risk-averse person. I’m all about planning carefully and avoiding unnecessary risks as much as possible. That said, over and over in my lifetime I’ve seen that God rewards faith, and that faith is spelled R-I-S-K. I’ve found that the more I risk on Jesus (i.e. the more I bet on Jesus, the more I trust in Jesus and the more room I give Him to work in my life), the more I experience His power. It’s because God responds when we move in faith and you can’t move in faith without taking a risk. Risk much for God and you’re likely to experience much of God. Risk nothing and you’ll probably experience very little of God.
Likewise, what is the next risk, or step of faith, that Jesus is nudging you to take? For example, maybe your next step is to:
Humble yourself, admit your need for Jesus, and ask Him to forgive your sins;
Get in some shallow water and get baptized (which is nothing too deep! It’s simply you getting into some waist deep water and saying, “I need a Saviour and His name is Jesus”. For more info on baptism, check out TDS 1.
Give Jesus a little bit more time in your day or week (worship at church more regularly; join a small group; spend time with Him on your own);
Use more of your time and talents to serve God, just like Simon lent Jesus his boat;
Trust God when it comes to your finances by tithing;
Trust God and do things His way, even when it doesn’t make complete sense to you or when you would otherwise be tempted to do things your way. It’s just like Simon, who followed Jesus’ instructions to put out into deep water even after a night of not catching anything at all.
Whatever that next step for you looks like, I pray that you would be willing to risk for Jesus in this season of your life, for that’s how we grow and experience God’s power in our lives.
Lord Jesus, thank You for showing us that experiencing You requires that we take a risk on You. Please help me to see what risk You want me to take next. Please give me courage to take a risk, knowing that I will grow and experience more of You when I move in faith. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!