12 July 2020 (Trinity Fifth Sunday Morning Prayer) Luke 5:1-11
Greetings in the name of our LORD and Saviour Jesus Christ. Let us bow our heads and invite our saviour to talk to us. Let us pray.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of all our hearts be acceptable in thy sight O LORD, rock, saviour, and redeemer. Amen.
In the last few weeks, we meditated about the kingdom of heaven, sufferings, and eternal glory. This week, I would like to meditate based on our reading, the Gospel according to St. Luke 5. This is one of the passages in which we read about Jesus choosing His disciples. In the preceding chapters we read about Jesus getting baptised in the river Jordan by John the Baptist. The Holy Spirit then led Him into the wilderness to be tempted by devil for forty days and forty nights. Jesus overcame the temptation and returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee. He started preaching in synagogues.
When Jesus came to the lake of Gennesaret, many people gathered to hear His words. He saw two ships and the fishermen washing their nets. Jesus got into the boat which belonged to Simon Peter and preached to those who had gathered. After He finished speaking, Jesus told Simon, “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.” Simon replied, “Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net”. Verse 6 says, “when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.” They called their friends to help them. The fishes filled two ships and the ships began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’s knees and asked Jesus to leave them.
Simon Peter and his friends were experienced fishermen. They were very familiar about when, where and how to fish. They should have been knowledgeable about fishes and fishing techniques. But although Peter and his friends tried throughout the night, they could not catch any fish. They put in a lot of effort. They depended on each other, their expertise and experience. When they were unsuccessful, they were disappointed. Similarly, when we depend on our strength, we will not be always successful.
Simon Peter and his other friends did not know Jesus when they first saw Him. When they were washing their nets, they saw Jesus and people pressing Him to hear the Word of God. Jesus requested Peter to move the ship a little further from the land. He preached to the people who had gathered there. Peter and his friends would have caught some of Jesus’s sermon. We do not know what Jesus spoke that day. But Jesus’s preaching must have struck a chord with them. So when Jesus asked Peter to move the ship to the deep and asked him to let their net for a draught, he simply obeyed. Whatever Jesus preached about might have given Peter a trust in Jesus. Peter accepts their failure the previous night but he obeys. Isaiah 30:21 promises us “thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left”. Peter heard the voice from Jesus about what to do. He listened to the voice. Humanly thinking, it seems foolish. The experienced fishermen had a fruitless night. But when they listened to the carpenter, they caught fishes enough to sink two ships. Peter’s immediate obedience brought that blessing.
In the Old Testament, Joseph was in a tough situation. He was thrown into the pit and sold as a slave by his brothers. He was thrown in the prison for his righteousness. He interpreted the visions of the butler and the baker. In Genesis 40:14&15 Joseph requested the butler to think about him, show kindness to him, and bring him out of the prison. But we read in Genesis 40:23 that the chief butler did not remember Joseph. When God’s appointed time came, Joseph was lifted from the prison to Pharaoh’s court. When Joseph sought help from the butler, he was forgotten. After two years, when the Pharaoh had dreams, Joseph was remembered.
Coming back to Luke chapter 5, we saw that when Simon Peter and the other fishermen obeyed Jesus, they caught two ships of fish. It also brought a change of heart in Peter. In verse 8, Peter admits he is a sinful man. He asked Jesus to leave them because he was astonished. When he accepted his sin and humbled himself, Jesus said, “Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.” When they brought their ships to land, they forsook all and followed him. They became Jesus’s disciples.
All of us work hard in all that we do. In spite of putting in our best efforts, we fail. During those times, we can learn from Apostle Paul’s experience. In Philippians 4:13 he said, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” When all our efforts fail, we can look up to God to receive His guidance. Our God will be true to His promises. He will guide us. When we put in our effort with His guidance, we will see results beyond human comprehension. Zechariah 4:6 says, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts”.
When we humble ourselves and listen to His voice, God can use us to do mighty things for Him. Jesus promised Peter in Matthew 16:19, “That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” After Jesus’s resurrection, Peter brought thousands to God. He performed many miracles.
When Peter obeyed, God transformed their lives and he made them fishers of men. Matthew 16:24 says, “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me”. These people left their earthly possessions to follow Jesus. The disciples left their houses, families. They formed the early Christian Church and died for the Gospel. They stored their treasures in heaven.
God chose us as His disciples. Do we listen to His still small voice that guides us? If we do, He will guide us to do His will. Do we cast the nets when he tells us? If we obey, we will receive His blessings. Do we humble ourselves and accept our sins? He can use us. We can be instruments to bring people to Him. Amen!