Out Into The Deep…

robin aylor 09/17/2018

 

In Luke chapter 5  beginning with verse 1 Luke tells this story about Jesus…

Luke 5:1 On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3 Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” 6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. 7 They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” 9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” 11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.

 

There is no mystery in what Jesus is making an analogy about here. He plays off what they have been doing… fishing… and is telling them they will be fishing for men; or saving souls… bringing people into the family of God.

 

I am drawn to the phrase Jesus uses in verse 4: …“Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”

 

Most committed fisherman don't spend all their time fishing against the bank in the shallow water. Sure, when he drags his lure back home he pulls it across the shallow areas where there is no moss or hidden tree limbs. In most bodies of water the shore lines are much safer than the deep waters. For one, you can usually see the bottom and stay clear of the brush. You might see a few small minnows swimming against the shore, again because it is a safe place for them to be. And if any big fish swim close they can see your movement from under the water so they are cautious and stay clear. Still with every cast you drag back your line through the shallow areas close to home and sometimes you are surprised and catch an amazing fish just as you’re line is about reeled in. And so it’s all good.

 

Don’t get me wrong… some fishermen are very good at catching the shallow water fish. They love crappie and small bass and know how each one thinks. They know what kinds of lures and what colors to use and the best times to catch them… Its as though they have a special gift and calling for the fish close to shore and they love it!

 

But today I want to impress upon you that we are all called to …“Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” as well.

 

We must be fishers of men to all people groups even in deep, difficult, dark places. Remember after Jesus resurrection he appears to his disciples. He tells what would become our mission:

Luke 24:46 …Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

 

My desire is to obey the words of Jesus in the great commission. 

Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

 

What I am also saying is not only are we all called to put out into the deep and support foreign missions to all nations… but even those fishermen who stay close to shore are called to cast out in areas where we cant see the bottom locally.

 

We are not (I am not) to play it safe and stay in our (my) comfort zones. There are many deep sink holes all along the shore and under the banks. Just as sharing Jesus in foreign lands can be dangerous and strenuous… so the deep pockets of sin locally can provide difficult challenges. However this is our charge and interestingly where we find amazing joy (which I will hope to ponder on paper another time).

Locally though, we may face a diversity of different kinds of deep dark areas. In many foreign lands for example the poor don’t have internet or many smart phones. That means they are not bombarded with temptations for pornography and lust every day… Some peoplegroups are not assaulted on every hand with advertisements to spend their money on things that promise satisfaction from the world. In America there are all kinds of evil facing all age groups. The local waters are full of underground currents of drugs and all kinds of satanic influences. Locally these and so many more are all deep sink holes close to the shore where we live every day. We are to cast into the deep here also and be fishers of men. This can be dangerous and trying but many big bottom feeding catfish make their homes hidden just under the bank. They bite… their fins nick and cut. But they are worth the catch for sure!

 

At his word, I want to obey what Jesus says to Simon Peter in our text. Lets read it again beginning in verse 4. Jesus is speaking.

 

4… “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” 6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. 7 They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” 9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” 11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.

 

Let us (may I) stay humble but not afraid. Trusting Christ even as we daily leave everything including our boats made for the sea and follow Jesus on land, casting our nets out into the dark deeps of this earth as fishers of men.

/ Robin