30AD-A Fish Odyssey or Out in the Deep
[discuss FISHING Peter a professional fisherman]
Luke 5:1-11 - the fish in the boat; he did all the right things in the fishing -
· Right time (Night was the preferred time of day for fishing in ancient times (e.g., Luke 5:5). Fish caught during the night could be sold fresh in the morning - from ESVSB.),
· Right spot, (in the shallow water; but, Jesus said to go into the deep water-which was not the normal place the fish would be in early morning) According to Richards in The Teacher's Commentary - By all odds this would be a futile action. The fishermen of Palestine worked at night, when the schools of fish worked in toward shore to feed on the swarms of minnows in the shallower, warmer waters.
· Right everything - to no avail until Jesus spoke and the fish abounded;
He taught the MANY
The people were LISTENING... to the word of God (a Septuagint idiom- notice this phrase only appears in the NT in Luke. Luke was a Gentile writing to Gentiles)
Jesus was STANDING
· Jesus sat down to TEACH-Jesus taught the people (we don't know what specifically)-
He taught the FEW - -He taught Peter, James and John something, too-
· some might say perhaps to obey is to prosper? This seems unlikely in the secular sense but might be in the spiritual one. That might be the catch phrase of the day - did He teach them that their discipleship involved the responsibility of teaching others? possibly...
· all amazed v.9
He taught the one - Peter (He got into Peter's boat - this was a lesson for Peter)
Peter, in the technical sense, did obey the Lord -
· he did go out into the deep,
· he did let down the nets.
· So, if he was obedient,
· why did he recognize Christ as Lord (instead of Master - epistates - only appears in Luke - meaning a person of high status, particularly in the role of leadership and authority);
· why did he confess his sin?
· But, what he did not do was let down the nets for a catch! Even when he repeated the command back to the LORD, he said, I will do as you say and let down the nets. He had no intention of getting a catch.
· Moses hit the rock when God said speak to the rock (Num. 20:8-13). Moses disobeyed clearly. Yet, the results of that encounter was also to benefit those around, not just Moses. God dealt with Moses on his disobedience, but at that time at the rock, He still provided water - which was necessary for the people and their animals.
· Peter went through the motions. But, he did not expect results. He thought he knew better than the Lord. To the onlookers, he would have appeared to have been in complete obedience. He LOOKED like he was obeying.
· So, even though it might have looked like he was obeying, it was also necessary for his partners, and James and John to also see the power, and to have an occasion to glorify God.
· Notice, WHEN they had let down the nets,
· A great quantity of fish were caught
· Nets began to break
· They needed help with the catch
There was abundance, but Peter knew he had sinned.
So, the apparent obedience was no good for Peter.
But, while the others benefitted because they saw the fish, Peter saw his own heart (as the LORD had) and knew he had been exposed.
So, here both sides of most religious arguments are illustrated-
· one is acting merely to mentally agree that they have faith -
· the other is acting without faith -
If Peter had NOT let down the nets, but simply acknowledged Jesus as LORD, NO fish would have been caught.
If Peter let down the nets without expecting a catch, as he did, the fish would be caught, but there was NO faith.
In both situations, Peter would be exposed.
This seems to show that many people THINK they are saved but then have to find out they are really not, sometimes in a shocking way. And, many who think they are saved have played with the idea of Christianity, toyed with it, but have never truly committed to Christ...
This is not a lesson to prove that obedience yields abundance. No, this is more to show that obedience must be coupled with faith.
And, to Peter alone he said - "Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men"
-Many look at this as happening after his conversion; however, it seems that this is moving toward his conversion AND to the sermon on Pentecost consider Luke 22:32 (the wheat-sifting episode) and John 1:29-42 (Where he first was told of the Messiah)
-perhaps more than the catch was putting OUT into the DEEP. The context is moved by the LORD from physical to spiritual - and, the context is catching (fishing for) men.
· put out into the DEEP (with the LORD in your boat)- venturing where we think there are no fish (men); or going away from our comfort zones; possibly moving away from society's pressures to conform; or not understanding why baptism saves
· let down nets (with the LORD in your boat)- teach/preach the Word; consider the analogy- a wide swath vs. a narrow, focused cast - WE don't know what hearts might be receptive
· for a catch (with the LORD in your boat)- let God give the increase; expectation
We, can be like Peter, when we go through the motions...this could be for any command of the LORD. But, it seems it is in the context of things we do that others might think we are faithful in, but the LORD sees the truth about us. And, it can include those things that we might have a certain amount of skill in and the command doesn't make sense to us. And, we sometimes (often) forget the LORD is in our boat...
This scene is at the beginning of the ministry of Christ;
In John 21:1-7 after the resurrection (Peter is numbered with three doubters - himself, Thomas and Nathanael - that later came to acknowledge the Lord as LORD) this same Peter does not know it is the Lord and does not question re-casting the nets for a catch... some 7 weeks later, this same Peter would preach a powerful sermon in Acts 2:14-39
-the catching of fish above seems to have a relationship to Ac 2:38 and the conversion of 3000 with the vast amount of fish (fishers of men)
Then, later when this same Peter and John had healed the lame man by the power of God, when arrested, he was able to say with GREAT conviction in Acts 4:8-12 -
“Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health.
He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
They had learned to put out into the deep, to let down their nets, and to do it expecting a catch, a great catch.
Is the LORD in your boat? Do you trust Him enough to put out into the deep? Would you submit to complete obedience by crucifying the old man and allowing His blood to wash away your sin and doubt in the watery grave of baptism?