Summary: Our handling of the trials and tribulations we encounter in life is a direct reflection of our faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Text: When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4).
How many of you have ever gone fishing? I am one who likes to fish. As a little fellow, my father would take me fishing in the reservoirs between the hills of Southern Ohio. There weren’t any really big fish, or at least we never caught any, but it was fun to catch the small ones.
Then when we moved to Northern Ohio, we lived in a small village situated just about 30 miles East of Cleveland, Ohio, right on the banks of Lake Erie. The Village was really a peninsula which set above the lake so that you had to walk down a hill to reach the water edge.
There was a harbor with docks on one side for the lime stone boats, iron ore boats, and coal boats. There was a beautiful Coast Guard station right across the harbor and a nice sandy beach on the northern side facing the lake. I spent many hours sitting along the harbor side fishing. Northern Perch and Pike constituted most of the catch. These fish measured 6 to 12 inches in length. I usually fished with worms or minnows.
I remember sitting on the pier along the harbor many hours without even getting a bite. There were days when the fish were really biting so that it didn’t take long to fill up the stringer with 6 or 12 fish.
I like to fish here in Florida, but I like to go out in a boat. One of my sons had a bass fishing boat for a few years and we enjoyed bass fishing. Since the grandchildren came along, he had to give up fishing for the time being. There didn’t seem to be enough time for family, working, and fishing. We never caught many fish, but it was relaxing just to be out on the local lake. I must say that if I had to fish for a living, starvation would have been a sure thing.
In our Scripture Reading today, Peter, James, and John were fishermen who fished for a living. They had to catch fish because this was their livelihood. They fished on the Lake of Gennesaret, also known as the Sea of Galilee or the Sea of Tiberias.
Our Scripture reading takes place after Jesus had been baptized by John the Baptist. This baptism is the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. When Jesus was 12 years of age he sat in the synagogue with the teachers listening, discussing, and asking questions, those who heard him were amazed. When Mary and Joseph found him and Mary said, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you” (Luke 2:48).
Jesus response was “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49). This was the first indication that Jesus was aware of the fact he was the Son of God.
Jesus was not saying anything to hurt his earthly parents nor was he trying to disobey them. Verse 51 states that Jesus did go to Nazareth with Mary and Joseph and he did live with them and was obedient to them. It appears that Jesus lived with them for the next 18 years.
Then God called John, the son of Zechariah, in the desert to travel throughout Jordan preaching the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. John came forth to preach as was written in the book of Isaiah the prophet. As John preached and baptized, his following became great in number.
People even wondered if he was the Christ or the Messiah. John said he was not the Messiah; furthermore, he was not even worthy to untie the thongs of his sandals. John told the crowds that he only baptized with water, but the Messiah would baptize with the Holy Spirit.
One day Jesus came upon all the people repenting of their sins and being baptized by John and Jesus showed his human nature by having John baptize him. He was not being baptized for his sins, for he had none, but he was being baptized for the sins of the nation. Jesus’ baptism also set an example symbolizing the washing away of the old and bringing forth the new. This act of baptism was the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry.
After Jesus was baptized, he was tempted by Satan. After Satan realized he could not tempt Jesus, he left him and Jesus returned to Galilee where he taught in their synagogues. Jesus was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and wherever he went people followed him. He taught in the synagogue in Nazareth, but was rejected by the people in his own hometown.