As you can tell by our short video, we are going to be talking tonight about fishing.
Specifically we are going to be looking at , if you would like to begin turning to that in your Bibles.
Often times when we think about Jesus’ declaration to Simon Peter that he would be a “fisher of men,” we focus in on that one verse but do not really pay much attention to what all went on that led up to Jesus telling Simon that he would be a fisher of men.
So, tonight I want to dive into that short passage a bit and look at it in its entirety, because even in the short video clip we still do not get the whole story.
There were actually a lot more people around and Jesus was doing much more than just walking along the shore telling people to follow him and become fishers of men.
So, if you have found in your Bible, if you are able, I’d invite you to stand with me as we look at the subject of “Going Fishing.”
Again, that is . Luke writes . . .
1 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding round 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 signalled to 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.
Preaching from a Boat
Preaching from a Boat
So, as we can immediately see, it wasn’t just Jesus, Simon, James and John, there were a whole multitude of people around Jesus at that time.
And also, it is clear that this was a very significant event in the life of the disciples because it is talked about in all four gospels (, , and ).
And it is so significant because this is where Jesus calls his first disciples to come and join in the ministry.
Up to this point, Jesus had been preaching the message but had no one to help him in the ministry and had no one to carry on the ministry when he was gone.
Which is in itself a very important point.
All of us have an expiration date.
Whether that is moving on to serve God somewhere else, or whether that is death.
None of us are going to be here forever and unless the Lord returns before we are gone we need to be preparing the next generation to carry on after we are gone.
There is an old saying that says we should all be being discipled by someone and we should all be discipling someone else.
We should all be training someone else to fill our shoes when we are gone.
And this is even more difficult in small churches because the pool of candidates is much smaller.
So, if we don’t have candidates in the church, what do we do?
We go out and we get them!
We recruit and bring new people in.
Folks, Christianity started with Jesus and he went out and got 12 who went out and got more.
And we should be doing the same thing.
In the parable of the Great Banquet, Jesus tells the story of the man who was preparing a great banquet and was having a hard time to find guests.
Luke writes . . .
18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ 19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’
And my favorite . . .
20 “Still another said, ‘I have just got married, so I can’t come.’
So, the servant comes back and tells his master what was going on and is ordered to go into the street and get whoever he could, but there was still more room . . .
23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’ ”
And the word there for “make” is “compel” or “convince them” to come in.
And this is how we should also be presenting the Gospel.
We should be compelling people to come to Jesus.
The situation is too urgent to do otherwise.
And this is also what Jesus is doing here in our passage.
Luke writes that . . .
1 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding round 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.
And we have to picture what is going on here because even our little video didn’t do this.
Jesus is there standing by the water’s edge and more and more people are coming up trying to listen to him teach.
And I imagine that he is feeling little closed in.
So, to make room and so that everyone could see and hear him, he gets on a boat that was sitting there that belonged to Simon Peter.
And they pull out a little way from shore and Jesus sits down and begins to teach the people.
Our Bible does not tell us how many were converted or really what all goes on because it shifts gears and now begins to focus on Simon Peter.
Put Out A Little Further
Put Out A Little Further
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
So, Jesus wants to go fishing.
And fishing in their day wasn’t like we fish.
These guys were commercial fishermen and they did this for a living.
So, Jesus tells Peter, “go out a little bit, let’s go fishing.”
I wonder tonight if Jesus has ever took us fishing.
Because when we fish with other people what are we usually doing?
Talking and fellowshipping with one another.
See, Jesus’ purpose was not to go out and catch some fish.
The fish he wanted was already in the boat, Simon Peter.
Jesus wanted to get him away from the crowd and the distractions of the crowd, so he could have a talk with Simon Peter.
He wanted to teach Peter something and needed his full attention.
And many times I think God is desperately trying to get our attention the same way.
God wants to take us fishing so he can teach us something but we are resistant.
We act like Peter . . .
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.”
Peter didn’t get it.
He did not get the point that Jesus was trying to make with him.
Instead of just listening to Jesus he has to put his two cents worth in.
Master, we’ve worked all night and haven’t caught anything.
“God, I’ve been working and toiling all night, and ain’t got nothing to show for it.”
And the part of the story that is not told, is Simon knows that it is pointless to go fishing in the middle of the day.
Think about it, how often do we catch fish in the middle of the day?
Not very often because as the water gets warmer, where do the fish go?
Deeper and deeper.
We have a hard time getting to where they are at and they don’t want to bite anyway.
And Peter knows that the fish are too deep for their nets to reach, so he’s sort of annoyed at this point and thinking, “what’s the point.”
Have you ever been there?
Got to the place where you just thought, “what’s the point. I might as well give up.”
And I think we’ve all been there at one time or another.
But the fact that you are here tonight is a testament that you have not given up.
And I have a hunch that you did just like Peter did here.
You didn’t see the point but because you said so, I will let down the nets.
You really didn’t feel like doing it.
Didn’t really see the point of doing it.
But because God said do it, you did it anyway.
And sometimes that is what we have to do.
We may never see the end result, but when God tells us to do something, we have to get to the place where we obey, simply because God says to do it.
That’s where faith comes in.
Because the reality is, the outcome is out of our hands.
God is more concerned about our faith in Him, demonstrated by our obedience than He is with the outcome of what we do.
So, Peter complies out of nothing more than obedience to God.
And look what happens . . .
Jesus Knows How to Fish
Jesus Knows How to Fish
6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signalled to 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.
Can you imagine the number of fish that had to be?
These were huge, thick nets and they were so full they began to break.
There were so many that they called in the second boat, filled the both up and there were so many fish that the weight of them began to sink the boats.
I cannot imagine how many fish that is.
And this was their livelihood.
It would have been like them winning the lottery.
And the Bible doesn’t say this, but I can’t help but think that part of the reason Jesus did this so that for the next 3 1/2 years while they were following Jesus and learning from Him, their families would have the money to get the things they needed.
Jesus had paved the way so that they could come and follow him.
And I wonder what would have happened if Simon Peter had not went out to the deep water.
What would have happened if he had not thrown out the nets.
If he would have just told Jesus “no.”
Think about what he would have missed out on.
And I wonder tonight how many times we’ve missed out on God’s blessings because we didn’t have enough faith to pull out into the deep water with God.
We didn’t have enough faith to throw out the nets and see what Jesus could do.
We hinder and we limit ourselves because of our lack of faith and trust in God.
We let fear and doubt come in and ruin what God has for us.
Even Simon Peter here is overwhelmed with what Jesus had just done.
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,
They were amazed at what had just happened but also afraid.
Peter was well aware of the doubts he had had just moments prior.
He was also keenly aware that he was standing in the presence of God’s Son.
And he was aware of his sin and he was afraid.
But look at what Jesus told him . . .
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.”
And that my friends is precisely what God has called us to do as well.
God opens doors and prepares paths for us, so that we can go out and catch people.
So we can compel them to come in.
So that we can share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others.
That is our calling.
Now, Peter, James and John made a decision that day . . .
11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
Are we willing to make that same choice?
Or, are we going to be like the three from earlier who made all sorts of excuses?
The truth is we can find 1000 excuses for not doing something, but there is one reason that outweighs all excuses.
That reason is, God told us to.
So our choice is really whether we are going to trust God or not and whether we are going to demonstrate that trust by being obedient to God.
Maybe God has spoken to you and told you that he has a ministry for you. What are you waiting on?
Whatever God calls you to, God will make a way.
But are we willing to Go fishing with God?