Lessons from a Boat Ride

Luke chapter five, verses one through eleven take us into a day in the life of Jesus.

This day in the life of Jesus actually begins with an ending.

Jesus arrives at the Lake of Gennesaret known by most of us as the Sea of Galilee. When He arrives, the fishing boats are docked and the fishermen are washing their nets. Fishermen washed their nets at the end of a day of fishing or in this case, a night of fishing. Since there were two boats at the scene, it could have been possible that the fishermen had attached the net to the two boats and sailed along with the effect of a dragnet.

Whatever the method, nets were washed at the end of the day. Nets catch fish but they also catch a lot of other things. Since these nets were most likely made of rope, they needed to be cleaned to ensure longevity and effectiveness.

Net fishing is a lot of work. It is much more labor intensive than casting a line into the water. At the end of the day, the fishermen would be tired; ready to end their day.

It is into this scenario that Jesus walks – showing up at the end to bring a new beginning.

Do you believe you are at an ending? Then, you might want to listen to this.

The fishermen are tired and ready to leave but Jesus jumps into the boat owned by Simon and asks him to put out a little from the land. Jesus was looking for a good place to teach the crowd. Sound carried well across the water and everyone could see Him from that vantage point.

So, Jesus teaches the multitude.

But, something happens next that I want to focus on today.

Jesus tells Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”

Suddenly, the word goes from being directed to the “multitude” to being directed to an individual. The word becomes personal: a directive that requires faith and action.

Someone here today is at an ending. Jesus may have been a “part” of your experience but now, He is moving into personal territory – asking for something, directing a step that needs to be taken. He is no longer speaking to multitudes – He is speaking to you!

Jesus’ directive to Simon didn’t make sense. They were at an ending. Activities that are required at the end of something are being done. Jesus tells them to move into deep water and let down the nets. Why would He ask such a thing?

I can almost hear Peter’s thoughts:

“He knows nothing about what I’ve been doing. My experience tells me that this is not going to work. We are tired – ready to quit and now, He is saying go into deep water and let down the nets. We’ve been out all night without any success. What makes Him think that this time will be any different?”

Someone here is being challenged to move beyond what you have always known; to make a move that doesn’t make sense in the natural; to put aside your pride, what you know and to risk it all on a word from Jesus.

Simon’s response?

“This isn’t going to work:

Yet at Your Word I will let down the net!”

Focus on this statement: “At Your Word!”
This is where your struggle is. I understand that you may not want to have to clean up another mess; I understand that you may be tired of failing; that you may be struggling with the sense of it all – but the real struggle is “At His Word!”

Are you willing to take the risk to find something different? Are you willing to admit your efforts have failed? Are you willing to release control that you never truly had to Jesus? Are you willing to take the risk that Jesus may be different than your experience tells you He is?

Simon didn’t rely on any other experience available to him. He made the move into the deep based upon a Word from Jesus!

After the nets are released, such a great number of fish were caught that the nets began to break!

From empty nets to full nets; breaking with fullness!

Simon’s willingness to act at Jesus’ Word opened a door for a flood of revelation! 

And, it brought Peter to this thought:

“Jesus, your power and authority over my world have made me realize how small and pitiful my efforts to control things have been!!! Depart from me – you can’t possibly have real interest in someone like me!”

Then, the most unlikely, compassionate, and crazy “Jesus” thing happened.

Simon’s revelation of Jesus’ power and authority turned into a revelation of his own destiny!

Say this out loud to yourself: “Don’t be afraid!”

From now on, you will catch men.

From now on, everything will be different.

But, it all begins “At Jesus’ Word!”

God is calling someone into “deep water” today. You are being called to act contrary to the familiar and to take a step of faith in Jesus. If you respond like the disciples; if you forsake your “comfort zone” and follow Him, a flood of revelation will open for you and empty nets turn into full ones!



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