Summary: We all have the responsibility to live and speak in such a way as to reflect the gospel and sometimes to share it in words.
The calling of the Apostles was a process rather than one decisive event. The event we are looking at today is the third time Jesus has placed a call on their lives. That is not to say that the fishermen ignored the earlier calls. A careful comparison reveals that each call increased in the intensity of the demand placed on their lives.
â€¢ The first call was really only an introduction
â€¢ The second call was an invitation to belief and service
â€¢ This third call is a command of abandonment of an old lifestyle and the adoption of a new one
1One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, 2he saw at the waterâ€™s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3He 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.
4When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, â€œPut out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.â€
5Simon answered, â€œMaster, weâ€™ve worked hard all night and havenâ€™t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.â€
6When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7So 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.
8When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesusâ€™ knees and said, â€œGo away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!â€ 9For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simonâ€™s partners.
Then Jesus said to Simon, â€œDonâ€™t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.â€ 11So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
Luke 5:1-11 (NIV)
Jesus already established a relationship with these men, but now, the third time He calls them, he is demanding a more intense level of service. In the second call Jesus informs them of the difference between their life and the life He offers. In this call He tells them that their old lives are over. Notice the difference in the phrasing:
â€œCome and seeâ€ (John 1.39)
â€œCome, follow me,â€ Jesus said, â€œand I will make you fishers of men.â€ (Matthew 4:19)
â€œDonâ€™t be afraid; from now on you will catch menâ€ (Luke 5:10)
â€¢ In the first phrase Jesus simply invites them to see his lifestyle for themselves. The Bible says they spent the day together.
â€¢ The second call is phrased as a comparison and a possibility. An invitation.
â€¢ The third call is phrased as a fact. He is now doing what he promised in the second call. They have followed Him and He is making them fishers of men.
I believe that Jesus was waiting for a significant change in attitude and availability before He was willing to lay this command on them. Let’s look at the change that came over them.
Jesus builds up to the moment of truth
Important elements in the fishermen’s transformation that made them available to the command to abandon their old lives are ministries they had seen Jesus engage in up till this time:
â€¢ He had been baptized and revealed by the Father
â€¢ He had begun revealing Himself to the priests and pharisees
â€¢ He had cleansed the Temple for the first time
â€¢ He had performed several miracles and healings including that of Peter’s mother-in-law
â€¢ He had confronted the Nazarines in the synagogue
All of the essential elements of Jesus ministry had begun. He had shown them the different facets of what they could expect by following Him.
God is always perfectly up front about the consequences of following Him.
He always wants us to be completely aware of what He is calling us to do. This is not a bait and switch.
Some of you know what that is, and some of you don’t. It is an illegal practice that can be prosecuted if it can be proven. This is not easy.
Imagine you get a sales flyer in the mail. It has a Sony stereo for $100. It seems to be a top of the line item. You, after almost 30 seconds of careful thought, decide that this purchase would be a very good idea.
You immediately go to the store and begin looking for the stereo. You can’t find it. It seems like it should be right here on the shelf with other stereos but it isn’t there.