“On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 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. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. 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. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 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.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.” – Luke 5:1-11
Last week we continued our study of Luke 5:1-11 to understand how Jesus calls men to come and follow Him and be “fishers” of men. This text reveals three stages through which a man must pass if he is to become one of Jesus’ followers—one of His fishermen. First, a man must hear Jesus’ voice; He must hear the call of God. In order to hear God’s voice, he must pick up the Word of God and ask God to speak to him. As he spends time in God’s Word, he will hear Jesus calling “Follow me,” and when he hears His call, he must respond, “Yes Lord, I will follow.” Men, God is asking us to trust Him. For a man to show his complete trust in the Lord there is one final stage through which he must pass. To follow Jesus a man must be willing to surrender everything to Him. He must be willing to turn away from the pull of the world and leave it all behind. Look at verses 10-11. “And Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.’ And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.”
Now why do you think Jesus said to Peter, “Do not be afraid?” Perhaps Peter was concerned about leaving his occupation and not being able to provide for his family? Perhaps Peter was afraid of what his friends would think of him, if all of a sudden, he was too closely associated with this Jesus? I believe that whenever Jesus calls you to step out of your comfort zone, you will have some fear. But listen, this miracle made it clear to Peter that Jesus could provide for all of his needs. This is what you and I need to remember when the Lord tells us to go out into deeper water. He will be with us, and He will provide us with all that we need. Jesus said in Matthew 6:25-27, and 33, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?…But seek first His kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” In David Platt’s book, Radical, he writes: “God delights in using ordinary Christians who come to the end of themselves and choose to trust in his extraordinary provision. He stands ready to allocate his power to all who are radically dependent on him and radically devoted to making much of him.”
George Muller pastored a church in Bristol, England for more than sixty years, but he is best known for the orphan ministry he began. By the time George died in 1898, over ten thousand orphans had been housed and cared for in the five orphan houses he built. Remarkably, and intentionally, he never asked for money or other resources to provide for these orphans. Instead he simply prayed and trusted God to provide. Do you know why Muller started these orphanages? His primary purpose was not to care for orphans, although that was one of the purposes. Muller wrote in his journal that “The first and primary object of the work was that God might be magnified by the fact that the orphans under my care are provided with all they need only by prayer and faith without anyone being asked by me or my fellow-laborers whereby it may be seen, that God is faithful still, and hears prayer still.” Mueller wanted everyone—Christian and non-Christian alike—to know that God is indeed faithful to provide for his people.
And so, let me ask you: Of what are you afraid? To what are you clinging for your security? Why not put out into deep water and drop your nets and see what God will do in and through you as you surrender everything you have to Him? Platt writes, “Ultimate satisfaction is found not in making much of ourselves but in making much of God.”
At the beginning of Luke 5, Peter, James and John were fully devoted to their jobs. They had been following Jesus, but from a distance, and only partially. But after this miracle, their lives were changed. They had seen Jesus for who He really is, and now they were willing to leave it all to follow Him completely. At the beginning of this text, Peter called Jesus “Master”—just someone with a higher rank. But from this point forward, he called Him “Lord.”
Jesus, the good Shepherd, wants to have a special relationship with you. Do you hear Jesus calling? Are you willing to trust Him with those things to which you are clinging? Are you willing to surrender everything you have to Jesus? If so, then you are ready to put out to deep water and drop your nets and allow God to use you to be a fisher of men!