Summary: A perspective on Luke 5: 1-11. How does one give their life to Jesus? There is only one step. Listen to the Word of God. The rest is up to Jesus.
Luke 5: 1-11
A Risky Business
We have heard in our text a fishing story, the failures and success of catching fish. When we look at our picture with Jesus in the fishing boat it appears as if his hands have just cast out the net. But his net is one to catch the shoal of people that have gathered in front of the boat. His desire is to bring them into his heavenly kingdom. We notice from the written text and picture that there is a focus on Jesus. Our text today demonstrates the importance of Jesus, the Word of God being central for life’s blessings.
It is hard to pick out a familiar face in the crowd because there are so many people. This can easily happen at the airport arrival lounge, at the football, at a concert, at a school assembly or anywhere there is a crowd of people. One can get lost in a crowd and feel lost as well. One can loose all identity and a cry for help can go unnoticed even with people pressing all around you. It is the nature of the ‘faceless crowd’.
Jesus cares for the crowd as he does for each individual in the crowd. Although you may feel like any other fish caught up in the net Jesus knows you are there. Because Jesus is God, he knows your name and your needs, and can take care of you right there and then. This characteristic of God is once again demonstrated as Jesus turns aside from the crowd to deal with Simon the fisherman and his troubles.
Jesus said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” Through this request, Jesus hits a sore point with Simon. And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” I imagine that Simon feels virtually bankrupt of life, frustrated by the lack of results through his hard labour. Simon is the expert fisherman, that’s what he does everyday, and he has been fishing all his life. He knows the lake well and the best fishing places. His boat and net are well maintained to cover any circumstance on the lake. And yet with the total of his experience and knowledge he has little to show for it. He feels frustrated with his life and a failure.
We are not all fishermen but we can easily identify with Simon because we also experience frustration and failure through life. You may feel frustrated because, of the heavy work load, the church congregation is shrinking, God seems to be silent, life at home is getting more difficult, sickness or old-age has kept you inside, starting school, shifting house, or seeking new friends. They can all wear us down leaving us to feel that we have lost control of life. There are as many frustrations in life as there are people in a crowd.
While Simon appears to be the ‘expert’ fisherman, Jesus’ request seems to be one of a ‘do-gooder’. Simon may have thought, “What does Jesus know about fishing. He’s a carpenter’s son.” Nonetheless, Simon listened to Jesus, the Word of God and cast his net into the deep water.