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.” Luke 5:1-5
Jesus is preaching to a crowd of people by the lakeside as the fishermen were cleaning their nets, He turned their boat into a pulpit and began to teach. Apparently, as they washed their equipment, they heard Jesus preach. When he concluded his message, He got into Peter’s boat. Jesus made a request, a command actually and Peter acted as if it were a question. Jesus said: “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” It is a statement, a command and Peter gave an answer. There are no answers for statements, requests or commands. You either accept them, or you don’t. Yes, you could ask a clarifying question if you didn’t understand the statement. Peter understood every word of Jesus’ command. Peter had an answer, and many of us who have followed Jesus have heard His commands likewise raise questions as well. Peter said: “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.” Having read this passage 100’s of times I never noticed until recently the fact that Peters statement is the statement for much of the church today. Jesus, we have worked hard and have so little to no results, but Jesus we have worked hard! Jesus did not ask Peter ‘did you work hard?’ He could see that they had spent the night fishing and were cleaning their nets and he also knew they had no results. We focus on our lack of results, Jesus focuses on our obedience or lack thereof.
In the painful confession of Peter, I hear the cry of the church today. Jesus, we are trying and nothing seems to be working. Like Peter, an experienced fisherman, what used to work does not seem to be working anymore. Our defeat often is not due to lack of trying. We need to not so much focus on what we are doing or not doing and focus on being obedient to the Master. It is not our hard work that the world needs today, not our programs, plans, policies or projects. What is needed is a life-changing encounter with Jesus! One of the ways we experience the life-transforming power of the Lord is to do what He says!
After Peter sums up his feelings of exhaustion, and defeat he makes the following statement: “But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” We do not read the Bible only to attain more knowledge; we read the Bible to obey its commands. In the Great Commission, Jesus told us to “teach them to obey whatever I have commanded.” Peter’s faith statement came out of weariness and defeat. We are not always on the mountain-top; we do experience setbacks and heartache. Peter was saying even though I do not know that it will work, because you are Jesus and I trust you, I will do what you say! The result? A catch so large they could barely haul it back to shore.
Tired friend the lesson for each of us is merely listen to the Lord and do what He says and rest in the confidence that comes from obedience.
Whatever He says let us respond in obedience.
God loves you, and so do I.
This devotional was written by Dr Ron Blake. You can find his blog here: wesleyshorse.com