Summary: When Christ calls us to the impossible, we are challenged to face our fears.
Don’t Be Afraid / Luke 5: 1 - 11
Intro: During the summer months when I was in college, I worked in the office of Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Company. Because I was an intern, I had to work what they called the “swing shift.” That meant you work 2 week rotations of 7 to 3, 3 to 11, and 11 to 7. The one I hated the most was 11 – 7. There was nothing worse than finishing your 11 – 7 shift and having the foreman come and say that your replacement had called in sick and you had to stay over 4 hours. I just wanted to go home and go to bed.
I. I can imagine the look on Peter’s face when Jesus says, “Hey, let’s go fishing! Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
A. You know that look. You’ve probably even used it yourself. The look you give when someone says, “Hey, why don’t you teach a Sunday School class?” or “Wouldn’t you like to . . .?”
B. Some answers to the challenge: Been there; done that; don’t want to do it again. / I’ve done my share. / It’s been my experience that . . .”
C. All of these point to the same condition --- the condition known as a closed mind. Have you ever entered a room or a house that has been closed up tight for a long period of time? What does it smell like? Musty? Stale? Well the same thing can happen to a closed mind.
II. Peter was an experienced fisherman who had been fishing all night, had caught nothing, gave up and came to shore to clean his nets. And now Jesus, a carpenter, turned itinerate preacher was telling him how to fish.
A. Any fisherman knows that when the fish aren’t biting, they just aren’t biting. Personal experience told Peter he should just quit and call it a day.
B. Sometimes we feel that way. We just want to quit, especially when things aren’t going well. Throw in the towel, wipe up the floor and move on. It seems as though no matter what you do, things just aren’t going to change. So you are faced with 2 less than attractive alternatives: 1) stay and tolerate it or 2) leave.
C. A young athlete was on his high school track team. He ran the ¼ mile relay with three others. That’s basically once around a mile track with one person stationed at ¼ mile intervals where the passed the baton to the next runner. This young man ran the last leg of the race and so it was his job to remove the starting blocks from the track and get in his position. This particular day, he heard the starting gun and ran to get the starting blocks. He had trouble getting them up and as he did her realized he only had enough time to drop them on the sidelines and run to his place. As he got into place he realized he still had his sweats on. He whipped off his sweat pants as fast as he could and ran to the box. Bam, the baton slapped into his hand and he started his sprint to the finish line. He noticed people yelling more loudly than usual. As he looked down he finally realized he had taken off a lot more than just his sweats. Caught between running for the locker room and dashing for the finish line, what should he do? He ran straight across the finish line to win the race and ran straight to the locker room. He could have quit; but, he finished the race in spite of his embarrassment.
III. Peter says in V. 5 – “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. Nevertheless, because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
A. Unfortunately, most of the time we adopt the attitude, “if at first you don’t succeed, cut your throat and let it bleed.” But Peter did as Jesus told him and not only had a huge catch; but, was called by Jesus to follow him in his ministry.
B. Fishing was one thing; but, follow Jesus was quite another. Vs. 10 – “Don’t be afraid, from now on you will catch men.” Jesus is saying basically, look what you accomplished when you did what I said. Even greater things are possible if you just follow me.
C. This is our challenge! Following Jesus! Yes, will be called into the unknown; but, what will happen if we just sit in the boat close to the shore where we can jump ship and walk to the shore?
Conclu: To live as a disciple of Christ Jesus doesn’t depend on knowledge, learning or experience. It depends upon our willingness to try, to do, to attempt the impossible. It’s called FAITH! Christ Jesus calls to us, “DON’T BE AFRAID!”