A Bible Reading: Luke 5. 1 - 11 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.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
A Thought A fortnight ago I wrote about swimming out of your depth and growing deeper into God. God is always calling us to go deeper, as we explore our faith. It is all part of becoming a disciple. This week I am thinking about deeper water still.
In Luke 5 we read how Jesus invites some seasoned fishermen to do something out of the ordinary; to go beyond what they were used to and where they were used to doing it. They were encouraged to push out into deep water and put their full reliance in him.
I imagine Peter was pretty weary and fed up having been out all night with nothing to show for it. Peter was an experienced fisherman. He knew the lake well, and he was used to going out at night together with Andrew, James and John. He would have known the best times and the best areas of the lakes for a good catch, and yet on this occasion they had caught nothing. Now Jesus asks them to put out into deep water again at the wrong time of day. What does a carpenter know about fishing?! However, there is something about Jesus’ request that makes Peter do as he asks and no one is more surprised than he is at the result. He is left wondering in awe who this Jesus is. They catch such a large number of fish that they need help from James and John. Even then, the catch is so huge that the boats are in danger of sinking.
Jesus takes an everyday familiar experience and uses it to deepen faith even further. Growing in faith is not just for themselves and their own discipleship. It is to benefit others. Peter, Andrew, James and John are to use their experience of fishing to search after people and ‘catch them’ in the net of faith.
What is the equivalent of putting out into deep water with Jesus in the realm of our work or life experience? For me, it has been using my teaching and musical expertise to help people come to faith and grow in their discipleship. What about you?
A Prayer Lord Jesus, when you call, may we respond like Peter and do as you ask,
So that we see others drawn in and set on the path of discipleship. Amen.