Summary: Simon Peter and others were professional fishermen. One day Jesus asked him for a couple of favors, and for Simon Peter, everything changed!
Based on a sermon preached at Glasgow, MO First Baptist Church on 7-22-2014.
This is not an exact transcription.
Introduction: When someone gives up on something they love, it’s remarkable. This is even more so when a professional or full-time businessman walks away from the very thing that he based his life on. Simon and Andrew, brothers, worked with another set of brothers, James and John, as fishermen. They had boats, nets, opportunities, and they seem to have done fairly well. Then one day Jesus came, asking Simon for the use of his boat, and everything changed after that.
The text for today’s message is from Luke’s gospel, chapter 5, verses 1 through 11:
[Luke 5:1-11 NASB] 1 Now it happened that while the crowd was pressing around Him and listening to the word of God, He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret; 2 and He saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake; but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. 3 And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the people from the boat. 4 When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, "Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch." 5 Simon answered and said, "Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets." 6 When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; 7 so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus' feet, saying, "Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!" 9 For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men." 11 When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.
Suppose Jesus Christ Himself asked you to do something. What would you do? We can see from the text that Jesus asked Simon to launch out a little, or into the shallow waters, and then to go into the deep water. Even though Simon agreed reluctantly, he had no idea what was going to happen once this voyage was over! Luke gives us thee sets of “twos” in this passage. Let’s take a look at the first of these:
I. The two requests
One thing to remember was the impact and effect Jesus had on people when He preached and taught the Word of God. True enough, the Jewish people had the Temple and sacrifices, and so forth; they also had the synagogues in various parts of Israel. The synagogue worship did indeed have the reading and exposition of the Law and/or the Prophets (Jesus Himself did this. (see Mark 5:38, Luke 13:14, and John 18:20) but there was one major problem in those days.
That problem was the layers of additional material treated as more authoritative than the Scriptures themselves. After the last prophet, Malachi, finished his ministry, the Jewish people hadn’t heard the voice of a prophet in nearly 400 years!
Imagine the hunger and thirst for the Word of God that these people must have shown! Best of all, they were hearing it from Jesus Himself. And wouldn’t you have liked to have heard Him speak, to be there in person? I’ve sometimes wondered what kind of voice Jesus had—did He speak in a tenor voice, or a baritone or bass voice? Regardless, when He spoke, people listened because they wanted to hear God’s Words.
At this point, according to what Luke said, the people were crowding around Jesus, so much so that He was heading (or walking backwards?) towards the Lake of Galilee. Remember that Jesus was 100% human and needed air to breathe! So He sees a fishing boat at anchor (paraphrasing) and asks Simon for, humanly speaking, a favor.
The first of the two requests was simple, but kind of unusual:
A. Launch a little from the shore.
The crowd is gathering so close to Jesus—understandably so, as they wanted to hear and keep on hearing what He had to say—and He’s about to be crushed by the mass of people coming so close. So He asks Simon to push out a little way from the shore or beach so that He could continue His message to the crowds nearby.