Summary: You can have a brand new start with God if you will obey Him, acknowledge Him, and follow Him.
Luke 5:1-11, Getting a Fresh Start with God
Limestone Baptist Church, December 31, 2000
Chuck Fuller, Pastor
I remember so well playing outdoor games in my childhood with my little brother and all the guys in our neighborhood. We had a rule that superceded all other rules when were playing games. It was called the “do over” rule, and we would use it when the outcome of a game didn’t go quite as planned.
For instance, Ches (my little brother) and I often used our wagon as a drag race car to pretend we were racing down our sidewalk out front. We would set up some things in the wagon to look like an engine, one person would get in the “car,” and the other would pull it down the racetrack. But our wagon had a small mechanical problem. Occasionally, at the start the wagon handle would pull out of its bracket, and the person pulling the wagon would fall to the concrete and the wagon wouldn’t move. Now, instead of saying, “well, we crashed and lost that one,” we would avoid any possible defeat and just call for a “do over.” Then we would re-attach the handle and of course, win first place. It was never hard to beat an imaginary opponent.
Do you ever wish life had a “do over” rule so you avoid the defeats you’ve experienced in life? Have things not gone quite as well as you hoped and now you wish you could start over again?
Every new year, people try to use the “do over” rule. They make resolutions about their eating habits or their lifestyles that they now they can’t keep. We can’t do a “do over” on our own. We fail every time.
But if we are believers, we really do get to use a “do over” that really works. You see, our God is a loving, forgiving God. God is a God of second chances, and God always offers us a chance to start over.
Do you need a “do over” today? Do you need a fresh start with life? Do you need a fresh start with God? I want to tell you today that you can have a brand new start with God if you will obey Him, acknowledge Him, and follow Him.
This event comes very early in Jesus’ public ministry. So far, he has been baptized by John the Baptist, He has overcome the temptations in the wilderness by Satan, He has declared Himself to be the Messiah in the Temple, He has already healed many people of diseases, and now He begins to assemble a band of disciples to teach and train.
Jesus’ preaching and teaching has already attracted great crowds of people, and on this particular day the crowd had become so large that they were pressing Him up against the shoreline. So, Jesus decides to use the shore as a natural outdoor theater. He gets into a boat, and asks the owner to go out into the water a bit so he can see the people and the people can see and hear him. After He finishes teaching the crowd about who God is and what His will is, Jesus tells Simon Peter, the boat’s apparent owner, to put out the nets for a catch of fish.
Let’s look closely at Simon Peter’s response in verse 5:
“Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing . . .”
To Simon, Jesus’ command must have sounded absurd, for two different reasons.
First of all, have you ever watched a pet store owner work for what seems like hours to catch a fish out of the tank with a net? Have you ever tried to catch a fish in the daylight with a net? In those days the fisherman had a very good reason for doing most of their work at night . . . fish can see the nets in day, and when they see nets they run away! But at night, the fisherman could lower the nets into a school of fish, and then raise up the nets and catch the confused fish who are blind to the nets. So you can imagine Simon Peter’s confusion at Jesus’ command to lower the nets for a catch in the middle of the day.
Secondly, if there had been no fish in that spot all night long, why was there any reason to think there would be fish there now?
Certainly, Peter stands bewildered by Jesus’ command to let down the nets for a fish. According to everything he knows about fishing, and he is a professional, he can’t see any way at all this would work.
Now, let’s look at the second part of Simon Peter’s response, “but I will do as you say and let down the nets.”