As is typical of my messages I do not have a written closing. Your crowd differs from my crowd so therefore the closing would probably need to be different anyway. Be blessed!
Gospel of Luke 5:1-11
We are in a message series on the Gospel of Luke
The word “gospel” literally means “good news”
So, you could say that this series is about “The good news of Luke”
What exactly is this good news?
Simply put, it’s the life story of Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most influential person who has ever existed
Even if you’re not a Christian, or even a particularly religious person, you cannot deny this fact
No one life has affected the whole of humanity more than Jesus Christ
Since He has affected the world so deeply you would think that all of us would know a lot about Him, but unfortunately that is not true
Many claim to know about Jesus, but in reality few people really do
The Gospel of Luke details the events of Jesus’ life from His birth to His death on the cross and subsequent resurrection
Luke is written by a Gentile to a Gentile audience
Since the vast majority of us listening to this message are Gentiles I think it’s very appropriate that we study this Gospel
Let’s jump right into our passage for today in Luke chapter 5
We are still in the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry
He’s been baptized in the Jordan river, tempted by the devil in the desert, and rejected in His hometown
He’s performed a couple of miracles and is now getting ready to really launch His public ministry
Luke 5:1-11 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, 2 he saw at the water's edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch." 5 Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets." 6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus' knees and said, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!" 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon's partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, "Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men." 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
There are 3 Key things happening in this passage of Scripture
1 – Jesus was ministering to both the crowd and the individual
Jesus was teaching along the shores of Lake Gennesaret – which is another name for the Sea of Galilee
There was apparently quite a crowd following Him and they were crowding around Him
As Jesus was teaching the crowd He saw two boats along the shore line and got into the one owned by Simon – who was later called Peter ( I will probably call him Peter from here out)
He asked Simon to “put out a little from shore” and when Simon did Jesus began teaching the crowds from the water
Why did Jesus do this?
I think there are two reasons
First of all it was a practical reason – the crowd was pushing in on Him and this allowed Jesus a little breathing room to teach
I know we have a few teachers here today – I am a teacher myself at both a high school and a community college – and I think they would all agree with me that it’s a lot more difficult to teach when people are surrounding you on all sides
When I teach I like to have my students in front of me where I can see them all – I hate having to turn in several directions to make sure I can see and be heard
Plus it’s tough to concentrate when people are pressing in on every side
Being on the water allowed Jesus to look in one direction without having people press in on Him, plus there are plenty of places on the shores of lake Gennesaret where the shape of the shoreline makes a natural amphitheater
It’s very probable that this was one of those areas and the people could hear Jesus much better from the water
This was a very practical reason for Jesus to put out in the boat, but I think there is a second reason as well
I think Jesus did this to specifically get time with Peter
Why do I say this?
Remember that there were two boats - it was very normal for fishermen to pair up and go out together
Jesus could have chosen either boat, but He went to Peter’s boat
Some could say it was by pure chance – after all it was 50/50 odds – but I believe that Jesus chose Peter’s boat on purpose
Jesus saw the potential in Peter and knew that he would someday become the great Apostle Peter, one of the men who literally changed the world with the message of the Gospel
However in order for him to become Apostle Peter he must first become disciple Peter
To do this He needed Peter’s undivided attention
To understand this further take a look with me at verse 2 – “he saw at the water's edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets.”
What was Peter doing while Jesus was teaching?
Washing his nets – Peter was working
I have no doubt that Peter was a very spiritual man and recognized Jesus as a gifted Rabbi
I know that part of him really wanted to listen to Jesus, but he also knew how much work had to be done
So as it turns out Peter was only partly listening to Jesus – his attention was divided
Can you relate to this?
Have you ever gotten so caught up in life that you are only partially paying attention to God?
It’s so easy to do – trust me, I know from experience!
The pressures of life often seem overwhelming and it’s easy to give God a back seat while we take care of things
We tell ourselves “I’ll make it up when things slow down” – the problem is though that things never seem to slow down
So while we have very good intentions reality is very different
I’m sure Peter had good intentions as well, but Jesus wanted more
Jesus wanted Peter’s full attention so He took Peter away from his nets to pilot the boat
While on the boat Peter was able to give his full attention to Jesus
Think for a minute what’s happening here
Jesus is teaching the crowds, but also focusing on an individual
Let’s look at verse 4 – When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch."
Can you grasp the importance of this?
Jesus finished speaking to the crowd and focused on Peter
Think about this for a moment
The crowd that followed Jesus was full of lost people
People that needed to hear His message
I don’t know how long Jesus was teaching them, but I do know that there were plenty of things left for the people to learn
They needed to hear more, but Jesus stopped teaching the crowd and turned to Peter
Never forget that not only is Jesus interested in the masses, He’s also interested in individuals
Jesus purposely chose Peter’s boat, and then got Peter away from the distractions that were keeping Peter from focusing on Jesus
Jesus wants to do the same with us
Yes, He’s still interested in the masses, but Jesus is also interested in you
Jesus wants your undivided attention
Think about what happened in Peter’s life as a result of giving Jesus His undivided attention?
Think about what could happen to you if you did the same
Jesus is doing something else in the life of Peter
2 – Jesus was driving Peter to a deeper experience with Him
Going back to verse 4 Jesus told Peter to "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch."
I love Peter’s response in verse 5 - "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets."
I can just hear Peter saying this in a patronizing tone of voice
Peter was probably kind of frustrated at this point
Jesus had taken him away from his work, which put him behind
Now this Rabbi was telling Peter how to do his job?
I can understand if Peter was frustrated
He certainly recognized Jesus as a great Rabbi, but just because someone is a great preacher doesn’t mean they’re good at everything
Peter was a seasoned fisherman and knew his trade well
Nobody would have blamed him for politely telling Jesus to get out of his boat so he could go back to work
But Peter decided to go along with Jesus for some reason
The most likely scenario I can think of is the great respect that was given to Rabbi’s
Jesus told Peter to go to the deep water and put down his nets
He told Peter to leave the shallow area he was currently in and go deeper
Certainly there were fish in the shallow water, but that would have been a small catch
The shallow water catches can sustain life but they will never produce prosperity
Peter might be able to feed his family on shallow water catches, but to make a living he needed big catches
The big catches were in the deep water
I do not know how far out the deep water was, but it certainly took time and effort into getting there
I can imagine Peter feeling totally frustrated as he was rowing to the deep water
Probably thinking of was a total waste of time
But going deep with Jesus is never a waste of time!
If you want all that God has for you, you will need to go deep
Yes, you can survive on the shallow water catches, but you will never prosper unless you go deep
How do we go deep spiritually?
By giving Jesus your undivided attention
By hearing His voice and doing what He says
Jesus is doing something else for Peter here
3 – Jesus gave Peter what he needed to believe
6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus' knees and said, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!"
Jesus told Peter to let down the nets
I’m sure Peter wasn’t expecting anything
Jesus met Peter where he was at and gave him exactly what he needed to believe
What do you need from Jesus today?
How can you get what you need?
First of all follow Peter’s example and give Jesus your full attention
Just as Peter allowed Jesus to take him away to a place where he could give his full attention so you need to allow Jesus to do the same