Summary: Is it possible to get to victory by means of failures? Three of the closest disciples of Jesus show us the process by some special events in their lives.
Victory Via Failure
1 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret,
2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.
3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.
4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.
5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.
6 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.
7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.
8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.
9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:
10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.
11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.
This chapter opens up with Jesus preaching a morning message to a group of people, excited and hungry for the Word of God. It so happens that three fishermen were there, not so much to hear the message, but cleaning their nets after a night of labor.
I. Fruitless Fishing
You see, Peter, James, and John were professional fishermen. This was their trade, not just a passtime. They had chosen to fish at night, believing that they could fare better than in the day. Nevertheless, they came up emptyhanded. They were wore out, discouraged, and probably just wanting to go home and get some sleep. The worst part for them was that they would have to face their families and tell them that there was no food or money for the needs of the present day.
How many times have you tried your best and still come up way short?
When we have done our best and still do not have success, we should realize our dependency of the Lord Jesus Christ. But, do we?
II. Frivolous Faith
You see, these fishermen were not really excited about the presence of this Jesus. But Jesus was gathering quite a following. At this point, His public ministry was just kicking off. He was the "new kid" on the block. Everyone was ranting and raving about His ability to preach, teach, and captivate the attention of everyone with His oratorical skills. He preached with authority, like many had never heard before. But at this precise moment, the fishermen were thinking that this guy is just the son of a carpenter who happens to know how to preach well.
After Jesus dismissed the crowd, he turned His attention towards Peter, in particular. He has already borrowed his boat and used it as a platform for his preaching. Now he tells Peter- Well let’s go do some fishing. And oh yeah, bring those nets with you that you just got through cleaning.
Let us prick Peters’ mind a little bit. He must be thinking; I am not sure what this carpenter turned preacher is up to. Doesn’t he realize that we are professional fishermen? We have already put in a long shift. This has been a bad time for fishing, and he wants to fish now in the day time. I wish he would just stay with his own trade and leave us be. Anyway, we will appease him a little bit. You see, Peter was not totally convinced, because he only half-way did what Jesus asked. Jesus told him to bring the nets (plural) for a draught. For lack of faith, and because they had just finished picking all the seaweed and moss from the nets, he did not want to repeat all the work over again.
III. Futile Folly
You may have noticed that Peter called Jesus "Master". Undoubtedly, he was refering to the ability of Jesus to preach well and be respected in that capacity. As we will see soon, Peter did not recognize Jesus as being the Son of God at this juncture.
He complains somewhat as he admits his lack of faith with the words of verse 5-- "at thy word I will let down the net (singular).