Deeper Waters

 Luke 5: 1-11   Message

5 1-3 Once when he was standing on the shore of Lake Gennesaret, the crowd was pushing in on him to better hear the Word of God. He noticed two boats tied up. The fishermen had just left them and were out scrubbing their nets. He climbed into the boat that was Simon’s and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Sitting there, using the boat for a pulpit, he taught the crowd.

4 When he finished teaching, he said to Simon, “Push out into deep water and let your nets out for a catch.”

5-7 Simon said, “Master, we’ve been fishing hard all night and haven’t caught even a minnow. But if you say so, I’ll let out the nets.” It was no sooner said than done—a huge haul of fish, straining the nets past capacity. They waved to their partners in the other boat to come help them. They filled both boats, nearly swamping them with the catch.

8-10 Simon Peter, when he saw it, fell to his knees before Jesus. “Master, leave. I’m a sinner and can’t handle this holiness. Leave me to myself.” When they pulled in that catch of fish, awe overwhelmed Simon and everyone with him. It was the same with James and John, Zebedee’s sons, coworkers with Simon.

10-11 Jesus said to Simon, “There is nothing to fear. From now on you’ll be fishing for men and women.” They pulled their boats up on the beach, left them, nets and all, and followed him.

NIV

5 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret,[a] the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. 2 He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

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.”

6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

HOMILY

In 1992, Country Singing Artist, Kathy Mettea released a single titled

Knee Deep in a River, and Dying of Thirst.

The lyrics talk of how one misses out on life because of overlooking the positive that is all around …

Standing in the shallows, when the good things in life are found in the deeper water…

The writer of LUKE shares a story about fishermen coming up empty after fishing all night and about a carpenter, who commandeers a boat, preaches a sermon, and tells the fishermen where the fish are.

After hundreds of pounds of fish are finally caught,

a fisherman, Simon,

immediately resigns from fishing and starts fishing for people.

_____________

Why does this story hold such an important lesson?

What is Jesus teaching here?

__________

Jesus approaches exhausted and frustrated fishermen who were trying to get their nets repaired, their gear stowed and get home for some food and sleep.

Jesus, a carpenter, climbs into Simon’s boat, and instructs him to move the boat out into the shallows… there he taught the crowd that was following him…

Simon obeyed… and I would imagine he continued to work on his net as he listened to Jesus.

When Jesus finished, he instructed Simon to row the boat farther out into deeper water, and let down his net again.

Simon almost makes this mistake.  He tells Jesus in that exasperated tone, “Hey, we’ve been fishing all night.  We know fish.  The fish don’t run in the day.  Aren’t you a carpenter moonlighting as a preacher anyway?”

Simon was tired and even though he respected Jesus, he knew it was a wasted effort to fish in the daytime. He knew more about fishing than a carpenter.

Don’t we also respond like Simon when we hear God instruct us to move into deeper waters?

Do we argue with God that it is pleasant in the shallows…

I can see the bottom in the shallows …

I am comfortable in the shallows….

BUT God calls us into deeper waters

love our enemies…. Feed the hungry… clothe the poor…. GIVE abundantly…. Visit the homeless…forgive extravagantly….and live a life of abundance….

But the deep water is dark —

It is over our heads

It takes faith and courage

And it is in the deep water that we CATCH what God has for us…

_________

Sadly, many who claim to follow Jesus never venture farther than the shallows.

They remain in a safe place, cast their nets, and wonder why the nets come back empty.

———–

Moving into deep waters requires us pull up our anchor keeping us in place and to turn over our control to God.

After a while, as we move deeper and deeper, we are in over our heads and moving around place to place unrestrained … with our nets out…

And soon are filled with blessings

QUESTION

What is the miracle of this story?

Some say it is the net full of fish…

Is it?

Or is the miracle that Simon decided that God was God?

Just look at what Simon says before the miracles begin to happen, “But if you say so, I’ll let out the nets.

When Simon obeyed Jesus to go into deeper waters… is when Simon began to understand that God was God.

When God instructs us into deep water…

Do we hesitate to answer?

Do we linger in the shallows?

There was a cartoon in the New Yorker magazine with the following caption:

“This morning opportunity knocked at my door,

but by the time I pushed back the bolt,

turned the two locks,

unlatched the chain, and

shut off the alarm system it was gone.”

Let us pray –

Spirit Creator – we are listening… we are ready for deep water… Amen