Summary: Follow-Jesus-at-any-cost kind of questions
Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, 2he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. 4When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” 5Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. 7So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. 8But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” 9For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; 10and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” 11When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.
Luke 5:1-11 NRSV
There was so much power in the encounter with Jesus that Peter, James and John staked the rest of their lives on following him – no matter the cost! Today Jesus is looking for disciples like that just as much as he was two thousand years ago. The question for which this sermon seeks an answer today is: Are we willing to do that too?
The answer to that question depends on how you answer some other questions:
I. Can You Give Him Your Boat?
Jesus asked Peter to lend him his boat and a little bit of time. Most of us are willing for that; most of us already do that. We come to church, put something in the offering plate and try to live a decent life.
It was a small thing for Peter to let Jesus use his boat to speak to the crowd; it actually felt good, something Peter could do for Jesus. He gave him the boat; even rowed it out a little bit and stood by to watch the sermon.
Joining a church is a little like giving Jesus the boat…we are told to tithe, give our singing voice or teaching ability, sit in the nursery or sweep the floor while cooking a casserole.
But, there is another question.
II. Can You Give Him Your Pride?
When Jesus asked Peter to go a little deeper and let down the nets again – after they’d been up all night during prime fishing time – Peter, the experienced, professional fisherman didn’t see why. In the normal scheme of things he would look kind of dorky to his colleagues fishing at this time of day in a fished-out hole; nobody wants to be laughed-at. But Peter loved Jesus, so he decided to go along with the goofy request.
My Uncle Marlen must have felt that way about taking me fishing; I didn’t have a clue! With a boatful of onlookers my uncle even had to bait the hook for me. It was my first time ever, and I was so eager. I didn’t know what I was doing – but it was my hook that the fish bit first! It felt like Jaws bending that pole! I recall struggling for a few seconds and then yelling over my shoulder, “Uncle Marlen, I got one….now what do I do?” Peter must’ve felt like Jesus the novice was going to make it a long day!
We have feelings like that; we question why the Lord allows some pretty hurtful and challenging circumstances to come into our lives…He is asking us to go a little deeper…invest a little more of ourselves. He wants our pride turned over to him.
III. Can You Give Him Anything That’s Left?
Like the mother said to her daughter when she saw the daughter’s date was a handsome medical student: What a catch!
When Peter saw what Jesus had done through the simple act of obedience of the nets being let down (against the conventional wisdom of waiting for a better time) it made him very uncomfortable. It is that way whenever the Lord begins to reveal himself to us; our lives can become very uncomfortable. Sometimes we would just prefer that he go away because, like Peter, we see our own unworthiness.