Fishing For Men.
Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11
“Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people.” – Luke 5:10 NLT
Some unwanted advice from an unlikely source. That’s what Simon received that day when Jesus instructed him to “go out where it is deeper and let down your nets to catch some fish” (Luke 5: 4 NLT). Think about it. Here was Simon, a seasoned fisherman, who had fished the waters of the Sea of Galilee all his life alongside his brother, Andrew. Along comes Jesus, a thirty-year old carpenter from Nazareth who had never fished a day in His life. But He gives Simon some well-meaning advice on how to fish. At first, Simon attempts to offer up an excuse as to why he can’t follow through with Jesus’ tip, but he thinks better of it and decides to do as Jesus suggests. The result is, well, overwhelming. They find their nets so full of fish that they are literally ripping apart at the seams. They have to call for another boat to assist them and eventually, both boats are so full of fish that they are about to sink from the sheer weight of their catch. Suffice it to say that Simon and the other fishermen had never seen anything like this before. They were shocked. So much so, that Simon fell to his knees before Jesus and fearfully confessed his sinfulness and unworthiness to be in Jesus’ presence. He knew that something miraculous had just taken place. He was aware that Jesus was more than just an ordinary man. At this point, it’s not exactly clear just who Simon believed Jesus was. But he knew enough to know that he had just witnessed a supernatural event that was like nothing he had ever seen before, and it was all the result of the words of Jesus.
The next words out of Jesus’ mouth had to have been confusing and cryptic to Simon and the others. “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” Of course, because we’re looking back on the story and know how it ends, we get it. But for Simon and Andrews, this statement had to be a bit perplexing. What did Jesus mean by “fishing for people?” What kind of career path was He suggesting? But in spite of any questions or doubts Simon may have had, he followed. Not only that, he left everything and followed Jesus. That means he not only walked away from all he had ever known – his career, family, and friends – he also walked away from the single largest economic boon he had ever experienced. He walked away from two boats filled with fish that represented a sizable boost to his income.
It seems, that at times, Jesus gives us advice and counsel that appears illogical and a bit ridiculous. He tells us to do something that makes no sense and goes against our better judgment. Like Simon, we want to rationalize and reason our way out of doing what He says. We want to make excuses. But obedience brings blessing. And obedience requires faith. Simon had no guarantee that anything would happen when he pushed his boat back out into the water. If anything, he expected more of the same – empty nets and wasted effort. But this time out was going to be different, because it was under the direction of and in obedience to the Son of God. And what Simon was able to witness was not only an eye-popping haul of fish, but the power of God unleashed in daily life. The mundane suddenly became miraculous. The ordinary became extraordinary. And as a result, Simon’s life would never be the same again. Catching fish became unimportant to him. Following Jesus and obeying His commands became the calling of his life. While he might not have know what Jesus meant for fishing for men, Simon was willing to do whatever Jesus told him to do. He had witnessed a miracle. He had seen the power of God revealed in his life through this man, Jesus. And so he followed Him. A move that would change his life forever.
Father, I want to witness Your power in my life more often. But I know that it requires obedience and faith. I have to listen to what Your Son is calling me to do, and then do it, even when I feel like it makes no sense. Too often, I want to figure out if it makes sense first, or try to determine if it will work before I step out. But that’s not faith. Give me the strength and determination to respond as Simon did, “But if you say so.” Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men