Summary: We have been called into the same transformational life of the first disciples.
The Rest of Your Life! Luke 5:1-11
Two Texans were trying to impress each other with the size of their ranches. One asked the other, “What’s the name of your ranch?” He replied, “The Rocking R, ABC, Flying W Circle C, Bar U, Staple Four, Box D, Rolling M, Rainbow’s End, Silver Spur Ranch.” The questioner was much impressed and exclaimed, “Whew! That’s sure some name! How many head of cattle do you run?” The rancher answered, “Not many. Very few survive the branding.”
You and I have been branded in a sense; marked; called by God to be disciples of Jesus Christ. Some initiations are more difficult than others. In today’s text we read the account of Peter and James and John, the sons of Zebedee, leaving all to follow after Jesus Christ; to be his disciples; learners of the master of mercy.
The call to follow Jesus was a call to follow Him for the rest of their life. The rest of their lives would be characterized by that calling. Every aspect of the rest of their lives would be affected – consumed – by that calling.
Central Thesis: You and I have received no lesser a calling as disciples of Jesus. You and I have received no lesser a “branding” as followers of Yeshua Meshiak, Jesus the Christ; the long awaited Messiah; savior of the world.
Thesis Statement: The calling to follow Jesus is an all consuming, all encompassing, call which rightly consumes all of and the rest of our lives!
Among those whom Jesus called to be His disciples was a tax collector (despised by his countrymen), fishermen (tradesmen who did not poses a particularly high level of education or position in society), a political zealot (a man’s whose chief priorities were on the politics of his day), and common ordinary folk. This is the account of the calling of the first disciples.
In the case of every disciple, as in ours, it is Jesus who beckons ordinary people unto the extraordinary life of following after the master of mercy; God incarnate, the compassion of eternity veiled in human flesh; Jesus our Lord.
In a day when people long to find meaning for their lives, the follower of Jesus Christ needs to have no such longing; our lives are inherently meaningful, if we would allow the light of Christ to shine in us. Our lives have purpose; to bask in and share the incredible love of Christ with the world around us.
The great purpose of the Christian life is rooted in the blessed hope that we have received. This is the very same blessed hope of the disciples after they witnessed the resurrection of Jesus and they were transformed from a band of ordinary people into a band of ordinary people with an extraordinary mission and power.
The same empowerment for the extraordinary life which the disciples lived is available for us. They were ordinary people, used by an amazing God in extraordinary ways. The same can be said of us, if we let go of our reservations, our comforts, and, like the disciples, leave our nets to follow Jesus.
This doesn’t mean that we have to trade in our sneakers, tennis shoes, work boots, or dress shoes for sandals literally. It means that we apply these principals in the “here and now” circumstances of wherever the Lord has placed us.
Consider the example of Peter from this text. The Bible says that after Jesus had spoken to a large crowd which had gathered near the Lake of Gennesaret (that is the Sea of Galilee as it was sometimes called in reference to the fertile area along its northern shores) that He told Peter and his fellow fisherman to cast their nets into the deep water for a catch.
The Bible says that Peter tells Jesus that they had been working all night and not caught any fish. He goes on to say that even though it was not peek fishing conditions and even though he was skeptical about a good catch, he would do it.
In verse 6 it says that “When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.” (Luke 5:6 NIV)
Principal #1 from Peter’s response to the Lord’s instruction: It is not past experience, our own knowledge or wisdom, or even our combined knowledge or wisdom which produces results in the Christian life; often it is little more than a willingness to try and obedience to the Lord! How many great works of God have gone undone because of the lack of willingness to trust God and try?
Peter didn’t believe that it was worthwhile even to cast the nets. He and his companions had been working all night and they had caught nothing! Yet, he trusted the words of Jesus, tried, and God brought a great catch.