Launching into Deep Water
He said to Simon, put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch. Luke 5:4 NASB
Simon Peter had been fishing in waters where he had considerable experience. He knew what to expect, and he felt safe and comfortable. He fell back on conventional thinking and did what everyone thought was normal.
But Jesus challenged him to think differently, to take a new approach.
Jesus wanted Peter to experience the kind of bountiful blessings only possible in the Kingdom of God. Not just adequate results, but an overwhelming harvest. Not just the ordinary, but the extraordinary. It was meant to be a life filled with miracles.
But this required going out into the deep water (v. 4). Peter had to leave behind his rational thinking, years of experience, and human expectations. By faith he had to enter the realm of faith where he would be stretched, needing to trust God every step of the way.
Because he trusted Jesus and went into deeper water, Peter received a bountiful catch that was far beyond his comprehension and expectation.
Today, ask yourself, Am I content with the normal, the average, the expected? Or do I want to experience the extraordinary? Am I willing to step out in faith in order to receive the full measure of God’s Kingdom?
In God’s Kingdom, there are greater blessings and impact, more power, anointing, and miracles. But you will need to be ready to leave the ordinary and normal behind.
How far are you willing to trust God? He beckons you onward and deeper and deeper.
Obey the commands of Jesus
By: John Piper, desiringgod.org
When Jesus told Simon in verse 4 to push out into the deep, “Simon answered and said, ‘Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets’” (v. 5). If Simon had not obeyed, there would probably have been no catch. Jesus could make the fish jump into the boat. But he doesn’t usually act that way. He calls us to be his instruments in man-fishing. And he gives us Peter as an example. Not a perfect one. But a good one.
Peter is not brimming with faith. “Master, we worked all night. We know fishing. You don’t. This place is fished out. Besides, we are exhausted. We were up all night.” Oh, how many are the excuses we find for not man-fishing. But isn’t it encouraging that the Lord does not pitch Peter overboard, but accepts his half-hearted obedience and does the miracle anyway. I have heard dozens of testimonies to this effect. I was tired. It didn’t seem like a very good time to speak of Christ . . . but I did it, and the great, never-weary Christ acted. One of the brothers at the Friday morning prayer meeting told us of a remarkable circumstance in which he led someone to Christ this week. The time is never perfect. And our hearts are never perfect. But Christ honors simple efforts to obey him.
That’s the second mark of a man-fisher. He obeys Jesus. Here’s the third: Those who do man-fishing . . .
. . . humble themselves.
When Peter and the others saw the blessing Jesus had given them – the way he had used them to gather the fish in spite of their half-hearted obedience – verse 8b says, “Simon Peter . . . fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, ‘Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!’ Oh, how we need to see this and experience it.
It’s the opposite of saying: “Wow, look at the way we get blessed when we follow Jesus! Biggest catch of fish we’ve ever had. We could market this! Let’s get a movement going. Call it, ‘Trust Jesus, get fish!’ Hey, hey! Let’s go to Roseville!’ No, Peter looked at grace – pure grace – and felt utterly unworthy and said so. That is a good place to start in evangelism. Cocky witnesses contradict the message of grace. So let’s waken to the fact that what is moving to Roseville is a band of half-hearted, imperfectly obedient justified sinners who feel utterly unworthy of every blessing we have, especially salvation. Then we may be ready to fish.
Oh, that all Bethlehem attenders would read Jonathan Edwards’ book, The Religious Affections, especially the chapter on “Evangelical Humiliation,” where he says,
A truly Christian love, either to God or men, is a humble brokenhearted love. The desires of the saints, however earnest, are humble desires: their hope is a humble hope; and their joy, even when it is unspeakable, and full of glory, is a humble, brokenhearted joy, and leaves the Christian more poor in spirit, and more like a little child, and more disposed to a universal lowliness of behavior. (Religious Affections, Yale, 1959, pp. 339f.)
Now we have seen three marks of faithful man-fishers: they teach the word of God, they obey Jesus’ commandments, they humble themselves. Now, finally, fruitful man-fishers . . .
. . . treasure Christ above all.
In verse 10b “Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.’” Because he knows that he will one day die for Peter’s sin (Mark 10:45), Jesus takes the paralyzing fear out of his humility and leaves in its place a lionhearted meekness and bold brokenness. Peter and James and John respond with hearts overflowing with the value of knowing Jesus: “When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.” This is what it means to follow Jesus: he is more valuable to us than everything (see Luke 14:33). I count everything as loss compared to knowing Christ Jesus my Lord (Philippians 3:8).
So here is my prayer as half of us get ready to leave familiar and comfortable surroundings and go north to worship – not a very great sacrifice: May the power and authority of Jesus Christ move multitudes of people into eternal kingdom blessings by means of his disciples at Bethlehem who teach the word of God, obey the commands of Jesus, humble ourselves, and treasure Christ above all.
Spurgeon’s Devotional on Luke 5:4
“Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.”
We learn from this narrative, the necessity of human agency. The draught of fishes was miraculous, yet neither the fisherman nor his boat, nor his fishing tackle were ignored; but all were used to take the fishes. So in the saving of souls, God worketh by means; and while the present economy of grace shall stand, God will be pleased by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. When God worketh without instruments, doubtless He is glorified; but He hath Himself selected the plan of instrumentality as being that by which He is most magnified in the earth. Means of themselves are utterly unavailing. “Master, we have toiled all the night and have taken nothing.” What was the reason of this? Were they not fishermen plying their special calling? Verily, they were no raw hands; they understood the work. Had they gone about the toil unskillfully? No. Had they lacked industry? No, they had toiled. Had they lacked perseverance? No, they had toiled all the night. Was there a deficiency of fish in the sea? Certainly not, for as soon as the Master came, they swam to the net in shoals. What, then, is the reason? Is it because there is no power in the means of themselves apart from the presence of Jesus? “Without Him we can do nothing.” But with Christ we can do all things. Christ’s presence confers success. Jesus sat in Peter’s boat, and His will, by a mysterious influence, drew the fish to the net. When Jesus is lifted up in His Church, His presence is the Church’s power–the shout of a king is in the midst of her. “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me.” Let us go out this morning on our work of soul fishing, looking up in faith, and around us in solemn anxiety. Let us toil till night comes, and we shall not labour in vain, for He who bids us let down the net, will fill it with fishes.