Saturday, June 25, 2016

June 26, 2016

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." Luke 5:1-11

We know these are four of the first followers of Jesus. I can't help but wonder what number I am! Have you ever thought of that?

Not that it really matters, but God knows!

The fact these four fishermen became convinced in their faith and began following Jesus is significant. I don't want to discount that or diminish it in any way, but there is another important point I want to make in this intriguing story. It is significant that He called them but it is equally significance HOW He called them!

Jesus came preaching along the shore of the Sea of Galilee and a crowd gathered. The longer He preached the larger the crowd grew. Soon He was backed up to the very water's edge and he continued to preach. While he preached the throngs listened and down the shore several fishermen were listening in as they cleaned their nets.

That illustrates the first phase of following! Following begins with listening. "Faith comes by hearing", Paul wrote to the Romans. Christianity is an informed religion. Jesus wants willful followers and you can't commit to what you don't know.

As the crowd continued to grow and Jesus ran out of shoreline He moves down the beach and asked one of the fisherman for permission to use his boat to preach from. Peter agreed to interrupt his net cleaning and loan the Lord his boat.

That's the second phase of following: loan Him your boat. Jesus saw the fishermen listening and asked them to invest some time in his ministry. It was an interruption and an inconvenience for Peter but he agreed to loan Jesus his boat.

Jesus preached from the boat as Peter, Andrew, James, John and the rest of the crowd continued to listen and learn from the Teacher. And when Jesus finished teaching He then asked Peter to head out to the middle of the lake and do some fishing. That leads to the third phase of following: Take Him fishing.

Peter had gone fishing thousands of times but he had never done it in broad daylight. That's just not how you fish. So, therein is the significance of this step of following Jesus. Jesus was asking him to do something he had done many times but do it in a totally different way. Jesus was asking Peter to trust him.

So, Peter tossed the nets into the sea probably feeling a little silly and wondering what all his fishermen buddies on the shore were thinking. But Luke tells us that something totally unexpected happened. When they went to pull the nets back up they couldn't pull the nets back up because there were so many fish it would take two boats to get them all back to shore.

While his fishing buddies were scrambling to get the fish in without breaking the nets or sinking the boats Peter fell to his knees before Jesus and worshiped Him. In that moment Peter saw who Jesus really was. And when he saw Jesus clearly he also saw himself for who he was.

All of those wonderful and miraculous things happened because Peter decided to trust Jesus and do something in a way he had never done it before!

So, after they got the catch into the boats and the boats into the shore Jesus looked at Peter, Andrew, James and John and issued the call to the fourth step of following: Leave your nets.

They did. And they followed. And they fished for men. And you are part of the catch!

Four phases of following Jesus:

1) Sit and listen
2) Loan Him your boat
3) Take Him fishing
4) Leave your nets.

Are you following Jesus?

What's your next step?

Will you take the next step?