The four-column study from the Timothy Group has been simplified for this tailored Devotional series which is part of the Clayton Church Value-Based Discipleship series, which was launched on Sunday 23 July 2017.
Passage: 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 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 boar to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full t hat 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.
The following phrase(s) or verses stand out to me in terms of the theme of disciple-marking, God or people in the passage.
- Verse 5: Simon addresses Jesus as “Master”
- Verse 8: Simon’s words “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man” – his attitude
- Verse 10: Jesus’ words “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.”
Retelling the story for someone else (you – my audience):
So Jesus was spending time teaching the crowds of people by the lakeside, and to create space between himself and the masses, he utilised the local fishermen to create a teaching platform in the form of Simon’s boat. After teaching and getting the attention of the people, Jesus concluded his teaching by performing a miracle. For this miracle, He instructed Simon to cast his net even though Simon had already spent a fruitless night without succeeding in catching fish. This time, however, the nets filled with fish to the point of breaking such that Simon needed help with hauling in the catch. In recognition of Jesus’ ability to work miracles and His Holiness, Simon asked the Lord to leave him since he was a sinful man, unworthy of Jesus’ time. Jesus instead told Simon to not be afraid and that, by spending time with him, Simon would no longer just be a fisherman, but now a fisher of men. The result of this interaction led to Simon, James and John all join Jesus in following him.
What I Discovered
The following revelations are discerned from the passage:
- Whilst we do not fully know the extent of interaction between Simon Peter and Jesus, Simon knew from the start that Jesus was someone who commanded respect and authority (and thus called him “Master”)
- When we see miracles performed, or God at work, it should compel us to acknowledge God and humble ourselves before Him (I am a sinful man)
- When we trust and obey Jesus’ command, even if they don’t make sense in our human mindset, He knows better and indeed best – there will be a blessing.
- Simon didn’t fully give up fishing (for fish), but he added to that skill fishing for men, in that his life now included his occupation/ability to earn plus the harvesting of the mission field alongside Jesus.
- I like to think that Jesus’ move to the boat, and teaching the people not just got their attention, but also attracted the fish to the boat-side. Both man and creature were drawn to God’s presence and teaching.
Obedience Step “I Will”
My response to this passage takes the form of the following “I will” statements.
- I will trust God when He speaks and instructs, and not question Him.
- To echo Simon Peter “Because You (Lord) say so, I will let down my nets” – in this way, the challenge and application is to also be obedient to God’s commands.
Interestingly, God inspired me to do the following, before I even did this devotion, which was also yesterday’s devotion! The phrase “gone fishing” has a double meaning given this devotion.