This is from a talk I gave during CrossRoads Cafe on Friday, January 23, 2004
Luke 5:1-11 (NLT)
One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there.
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper and let down your nets, and you will catch many fish.”
“Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, we’ll try again.” And this time their nets were so full they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.
When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me–I’m too much of a sinner to be around you.” For he was awestruck by the size of their catch, as were the others with him. His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed.
Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.
Now it wasn’t uncommon for religious leaders of that day to teach in a place like this; it was open and quiet and near a food source. However, it was the crowd of PEOPLE that made the scene rather unusual. Most religious leaders only taught religious students and other very religious people. But Jesus was teaching everyone! Fishermen, tax collectors, criminals and regular town folk.
One of these fishermen was Simon, who will later be called Peter and become a religious leader himself! It’s hard to know what Simon first thought of Jesusãƒ»teaching but I think you could tell that he was a more that a bit surprised when Jesus started teaching him how to fish!
Could you imagine the scene? You are about ready to go home from trying to make a living with nothing to account for your hard work. You are depressed, very tired, and wonder how you are going to get something to eat. As you finish your work, your way is blocked by a crowd of people listening to some religious leader talk about something you are probably not interested in hearing about.Â “How is all that that man is saying going to put food on my table?” is the most obvious question that you might ask.
And then this teacher of this motley crew of people turns his attention to you! “Great, I’ll never going to get home on time now!” you might think. And then this teacher of religion starts to tell you how to do your job! Now you say to yourself, “He has no idea what he is talking about! There is no way he can know where the fish are!” … Or could he? As if to answer, your stomach growls and you decide to at least give it a chance even though you are pretty sure it will fail.
You are out on the water with Jesus and as you pull in the nets, the impossible happens! Not only are there fish … there are a LOT of fish … too many fish in fact! As the thrill and excitement of such a great success fades, the reality of what just happens sets in. This man beside you is not your average spiritual teacher who just sits around talking about religious things; He knows where the fish are! He could actually be who he says he is; the Son of the One and only true God who created the world and all we know.
Have you been “fishing around” in your life; working hard but not able to catch a thing? Maybe it’s time for you to start listen to Jesus and become his student like Simon did. To do so, Simon had to admit that he was a sinner and not living the way God intended us to live. If you are willing to do this, Jesus will show you how to live a life worth living and you will have a type of success in life that can’t be measured in yen (or in Simon’s case, with fish).
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me, the pastor here, or any of the Christians around you. We are all happy to talk about how Jesus has changed our lives. Thank you.