Summary: This message examines the impact and implications of the miraculous catch of fish.
As the sun rises on the Sea of Galilee there are four very frustrated fishermen with no fish stories to tell, cleaning and repairing their nets. Wait a minute those four guys look really familiar, well they should, it’s Peter, Andrew, James and John. These men have spent the last year travelling with Jesus. They have witnessed Jesus healing people, cleansing the temple and even turning water into wine. They have sat at His feet hanging on every word as He taught. If anyone really knows Jesus it would have to be these four men. In fact these four men probably think they know Him better than anyone else, but today everything is going to change. They will soon discover that they are quite clueless in regard to Jesus’ true identity. What they are about to experience will stretch their faith and destroy all their preconceived notions about Jesus. When they witness Jesus’ power on their own turf not only will they be humbled, they will ask Him to leave their presence. It will be during this time of fear, confusion and discomfort that their relationship with Jesus will change forever. It will be at this point that they will see Jesus for who He really is. As it was with these four men, when someone sees Jesus for who He really is, they understand that they cannot just be casual followers. A clear understanding of who Jesus is literally upsets our comfortable existence. However, it does help us see that we need to be a totally devoted follower. Today as we open this text our goal is to bring Jesus into clearer focus and understand the changes that requires.
I. Jesus is actively continuing His Galilean speaking tour.
A. Large crowds have once again gathered to hear Jesus teach.
1. Word about Jesus has spread far and wide and a large crowd has gathered on the hillsides that surround the Sea of Galilee.
2. Due to the increasing size of the crowds Jesus now had to move from teaching in the synagogue to areas that would accommodate larger crowds.
3. The Sea of Galilee was a large fresh water lake that was about 650 feet below sea level and was approximately 150 feet deep. The lake was 13 miles long and seven miles wide and surrounded by hills.
4. This was the ideal place to speak to large crowd because the lay of the land formed a natural amphitheater.
5. On this day the crowd must have been exceptionally large as they have begun to press in on Jesus.
6. With His back against the lake Jesus decides to borrow Simon Peter’s boat and push out from shore enough where He could comfortably teach the people.
B. This passage highlights the fact that Jesus’ ministry actually had three facets.
1. Jesus’ teaching and preaching communicated the Word of God.
2. His healing and other displays of compassion reflected God’s power and love.
3. The recruiting and training of His disciples lay the ground work for the beginning of the church and the spreading of the Gospel.
4. In our text Luke very skillfully weaves all three facets through one account.
5. However, Luke’s main focus is the miracle that Jesus performs since he does not provide us with the content of Jesus’ teaching on this particular occasion.
II. A surprising teaching moment and startling revelation.
A. Jesus now instructs Simon to head out into the deep waters apparently ending the teaching session but the most important lesson is about to be learned.
1. Simon along with the other three was a professional fisherman, they knew their trade and they knew the Sea of Galilee. Despite this they fished all night and came up empty.
2. You have to wonder if these four worn out fishermen felt like telling Jesus to stick to the carpentry business and leave the fishing to the professionals.
3. We need to take note of Simon Peter’s response. He calls Jesus master and says because you say so, I will do it.
4. The Greek word for Master is epistata and it is only used by Luke in the New Testament. It was used to recognize Jesus’ authority and is only used by His followers.
5. So some faith is implied here, they were doing more than just humoring Jesus.
6. There was no way that they were prepared for what would result from their obedience.
B. Simon’s obedience on the surface seems quite foolish but this only serves to highlight the impact of the miracle that happens.
1. They drop their nets over the side probably expecting the same results they had gotten after fishing all night.
2. Can imagine Simon’s eyes as the nets began to fill with fish? In fact they kept filling with fish till their weight caused the nets to begin breaking and the boat to begin to sink.