Menu

Join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:30am

You Shall Be Fishers of Men Luke 5:1 - 11

March 24, 2019 Speaker: Jim Galli Series: The Gospel According to Luke

Topic: Sunday AM Passage: Luke 5:1–5:11

  • Downloads

Click here for a .pdf version that retains all of the original formatting. Easier to read.

    1Now it came about that while the multitude were pressing around Him and listening to the word of God, He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret; 2and He saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake; but the fishermen had gotten out of them, and were washing their nets. 3And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the multitudes from the boat. 4And when He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” 5And Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but at Your bidding I will let down the nets.” 6And when they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish; and their nets began to break; 7and they signaled to their partners in the other boat, for them to come and help them. And they came, and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. 8But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” 9For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken; 10and so also James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.” 11And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.

We are in Luke's gospel, Luke's re-telling of the good news, And Luke has one job.  You hear all those one job jokes at work.  You had one job.  And usually it's a fail and everybody laughs.  But Luke has one job, and trust me, he is a genius intellect, even if the Holy Spirit wasn't directing his mind and his pen.

But the Spirit is in full control of this genius intellect and Luke has one job, and that job is to lay out the evidence about Jesus so that no one can get away . . un-affected.  Luke is relentless in showing us exactly who Jesus is.

If this was a courtroom drama the witnesses so far have been angels and righteous people and a virgin birth brought by God the Father through God the Holy Spirit.  And the evidence presented has been that God broke a 400 year silence with a prophet more stark and real than all of the old testament prophets, and heaven was opened and God spoke and the Spirit descended visibly.  All on Jesus.

Then 40 days with Satan.  He couldn't break Him.  Then Nazareth where He just flat out tells them that Isaiah's description of Messiah is in fact Him, and they try to kill Him.

And now Capernaum where the miracles just get poured out in a fashion never before seen on this planet since the miracle of it's creation from nothing.  Healings, creative, just as creative as creation, and done the same way, by the logos, the Word of God, from the mouth of . . . God.

And that's where Luke has brought us this morning in his relentless presentation of evidence.  Jesus is Son of God.  Jesus is Messiah.  Jesus is the walking talking teaching healing manifestation of the power of the Spirit of God.

And this morning, Luke is going to tell us, Jesus IS God.  No escaping the meaning of what the evidence Luke is giving us this morning demands.

But consider this.  Why?  Why with incontrovertible evidence by solid witnesses that would stand up in any courtroom, hundreds of them, why is the world so lost?  There must be other underlying reasons, because Luke's case is rock solid and the witnesses are reliable.

How did the world give themselves a pass?  If what Luke and the other gospel writers wrote is true, then the whole world needs to get prostrate on the floor and worship . . . Jesus.  This Jesus.  That's the only logical result and the information is such that we are accountable to it.  The whole world will be held to account for what they did with this information.

Why has that not happened?

The reason is because the world does not want the righteous Holy God of this book to be God.  They hate that God.  They love their sin.  So they have to find an end run around this book.  A way to make this evidence go away.

And the way most of the world does that is to ignore it.  But let's narrow this down to thinking people.  Most aren't.  So we'll narrow our focus a bit.

How do you dismiss a man that impacted the world to the point that the calendar we use today reflects His birth as AD. 1?  Something must have happened in order for that impossible to ignore impact.  Pinch yourself.  It's 2019.  AD  Ano Domino.  Year of our Lord.  

So thinking people at the very least must ask, who was this person that the world began counting years over again from His birth?

Now, we'll begin our inquiry from the standpoint of the people in Luke 19.  Remember them?  OK, I'll help you.  Lk. 19:14  But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.

That's the world's premise.  They can't get away from the fact that He is.  Their own calendar reminds them of that.  Daily.  But they hate Him because they love sin.  So what do we do with Him?  Obviously He existed!  But . . . who was he . . . really?

And beginning in the 19th century, the 19th century is important because science is emerging as a force that answers questions.  The Bible increasingly begins to seem irrelevant because of learning.  As knowledge increases, this book more and more begins to seem like an antiquity.

It's a book full of fairy tales and magic.  Any thinking person can see that.  We've moved beyond that with all our learning by the 1800's.  Modern man is emerging and the antique book, is obviously written in a time when the learning we have in the 1800's wasn't available and people believed all sorts of wives tales, but we're sophisticated now.  Modern.

And books begin to be written, and still are written about someone they want to call the "historical" Jesus.  In other words, if we begin with the premise that this book with the records we have, the four gospel writers, were written by men steeped in a tradition of fairy tales and  magic, if we get rid of that stuff and try to recover the "real" Jesus, who is he?

Well, he's a nice man.  A very nice man who divorced himself from the popular respectable class of his own day and loved all people.  He dined with social cast outs.  He was sympathetic to oppressed groups and had conflict with privileged groups in his time frame.

That's really attractive to our current culture that is re-writing all the rules about who is good and who is bad dependent on intersectionality of different oppressive groups.

White men are the new bottom tier.  Scum of the world.  Oppressors who need to be punished, need to be at the bottom for a while.  All the other groups who were the oppressed, and intersecting with how many different ways you were oppressed rise to the top.

So the new invented Jesus, if he were alive today, he wouldn't give me the time of day.  In fact I would be a pharisee and he would actually be in conflict with me.  No, he would dine with people, the oppressed classes.  The outcasts.

There are hundreds of those books who invent a jesus that they want.  The Mormon jesus is far more entertaining than our old jesus from the four gospel writers.  Fantasmagasmical jesus.  Brother of satan, but we won't bring that up very often because it sort of upsets even the mormons who invented it.

So what I'm purporting is that if you want to keep sin, you have to jettison the real Jesus described by the four gospel writers.  And you have to re-invent a jesus that gets re-defined and re-invented, out of nothing, really.  The jesus of all of the books written from the 1800's to today about the "real" "historical" jesus are figments of imagination.

I was having this conversation with my mom, yesterday, about a book she likes by Taylor Caldwell.  Dear and glorious physician, a fictional account of the life of Luke.  It's fiction.  No one knows anything about Luke except what we can glean from the two books of the bible he wrote.  Everything else is fiction.

I'm getting really cranky in my old age I guess.  Fiction is great.  But we lack solid information about things and we paint in all the open gaps with fiction.  And we jump that gap far too quickly, far too easily, far too often.  Fiction becomes the new facts.  Especially now with the internet.

Taylor Caldwells book about the life of Luke is fiction.  Books about a historical jesus are fiction.  They are figments of peoples imaginations.  If you don't like the Jesus of this book, fiction is available.  

The real Jesus said;
17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. 18 “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished. 19 “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.

If you don't like that Jesus, you don't want that Jesus to rule over you, I offer you . . . fiction.  Take your pick.  Find a history re-writer that has invented a jesus you like.  Or, maybe, write your own new book about who the real historical jesus was, from zero information besides Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

So, now that I've cleared the room of fictional jesus's, let's dive into the person that Luke, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wants to present as the "real" Jesus.

    1Now it came about that while the multitude were pressing around Him and listening to the word of God,

Here's the multitude.  The crowds.  These folks are like us in many ways.  I'm going to invent a little fiction that isn't really there and make a conclusion that these are common ordinary folks, not so different than you or I.

They're busy folk; just trying to survive in that time frame kept you busy.  Work was necessary to eat.  Like us they had other stuff to do.

I get invitations all the time to listen to folks.  And most of the time, unless forced, I don't.  I wouldn't walk across the street to listen to the teaching of most people I know.  At work I don't go to meetings unless attendance is mandatory.  And I understand all too well that if it wasn't for this book, you folks wouldn't walk across the street to hear anything I had to say.

Here's a multitude of people, I'm guessing very much like us, ordinary busy folks with busy lives that need to keep busy to keep a roof over their heads and have something to eat, a multitude of those type folks and there are so many of them that Jesus has to keep backing up so He isn't crushed.

But He's backed up until there's no place to go, but into the water.

Now, if as we've fictionally assumed, they're not so very different from us, and if most of us wouldn't walk across the street to listen to someone speak unless there's some really good reason, why are a few thousand people pressing in on Jesus until His feet have finally gotten wet?

Well, for starters, He's healed everyone in the entire territory for miles in every direction.  And for another thing, His voice mesmerises.  He speaks with such power and authority, it's really not like anyone else they've ever heard speak before.

His words have an indefinable power.  Authority.  No one ever spoke like this man spoke.  It's a legitamate phenomenon.  A multitude of people who have put their busy lives on hold, for as long as it takes, so they can listen to this man who heals everyone with miracles, speak.  

And all of us who wouldn't walk across the street most of the time to hear even the best of speakers, we would have put our lives on hold too.  Something astounding is happening.  Power to create flesh out of nothing.  Power to heal disease and malady that only one who spoke the worlds into being has.  Power and authority over demons.  The spirit world instantly obey's this man's voice.

That's why the multitude was pressing in on Him until finally there's no place else to go and His feet get wet.  That's the Jesus of this book.

He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret;  He was probably standing IN the lake of Gennesaret because of the crush of the multitude.  But that's fiction.  See, I do it too.  It makes the story real.  We can feel our feet getting wet as we back up trying to get a bit of space between us and the crushing crowd.

2and He saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake; but the fishermen had gotten out of them, and were washing their nets.

This little story point only adds to what I said.  These folks lived busy lives of hard work to survive.  We're about to find out that the Jonas,Thunder, and sons fishing company has worked hard all night long.

It's probably 10:00 - ish in the morning and they're still at work, cleaning nets to go and do it again the next night.  The fish bite at night.  They sleep during the day, plus if they're disturbed by a boat, they've got eyes.  They look up at the guys with the nets and swim somewhere else.

Fish at night.  Clean and repair at day.  When do you sleep?  Good question.  This business was hard work.

Still, these men, Peter and his brother Andrew, sons of Jonas or John, and their business partners, James and John, sons of Thunder, or Zebedee if you prefer, were friends of Jesus.

They are curious enough about religious matters that they put their business on hold for periods and we first meet them in John chapter one, and they have gone to hear John the baptist, a prophet, something no one has seen for 400 years.  

And they find Jesus there.  Andrew goes and gets Peter and says; we've found the Messiah, and they follow Jesus.

These men knew Jesus, and were following Him but had not yet walked away from their occupations.  But they were there to hear Jesus while they were working in their normal occupation, their fishing business.

3And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s,

So Jesus sees the two boats sitting there and the idea light bulb comes on and He gets into Peter's boat.  He's very selective.  Why didn't He get into John and Jame's boat.  Because Peter is, well, Peter, and Jesus already knows that Peter is the natural leader, and werever Peter goes, the rest of the fishermen are going to follow his lead.

3And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the multitudes from the boat.

Perfect balance.  The little natural amphitheator of the shore going uphill and Jesus a few feet away, in Simon's boat broadcasting what?  vs. 1 while the multitude were pressing around Him and listening to the word of God

The word of God.  Now every word that Jesus spoke, is in fact the word of God.  Whether He read from Isaiah or spoke the words the Father gave Him to speak, it was the word of God.  Always.  Every word.  Not just the selections people want to take out of context and invent a jesus after their own image.  Every word He spoke was the word of God.

Listen to the words of Jesus;  Jn. 12:44 And Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me does not believe in Me, but in Him who sent Me. 45 “And he who beholds Me beholds the One who sent Me. 46 “I have come as light into the world, that everyone who believes in Me may not remain in darkness. 47 “And if anyone hears My sayings, and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. 49 “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me commandment, what to say, and what to speak. 50 “And I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.”

Every word He spoke began in the mind of God, came to His mouth by the Spirit of God, and was spoken by the Son of God.  The whole trinity is at work as Jesus speaks from that boat.

And when He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”

Jesus sermon had a beginning and an end.  He finished speaking.  That day.  The sermon was over.  But the rest of the days work, spiritually was still undone.  

So Jesus asks Simon to “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”

Now let me help you understand what the dynamics are here.  Kirk hunts Elk.  I do not.  Now what Jesus just said to Peter is rather like me saying to Kirk, let's go out into the middle of mud lake and bring your elk gun, we're going to hunt elk.

Kirk is no fool.  And I'll embelish my story even more.  Kirk just got home from an 18 hour night mission out on the range, just pulled up and got out of his work car when I showed up with my bright idea about hunting elk on Mud Lake.

That's close to where we're at here with Jesus request.  Now if it was a perfect calm day and the sun was mild and Jesus had just said “Put out into the deep water . . .”  Peter might have thought to himself, I know where this is going, Jesus is tired of the crush of the crowd and I am too, and out in that lake we could do some serious chainsawing.  Some un distracted slumber would be good.  We're all exhausted and the mob of people isn't dispersing.  That lake is a great idea.  

No, Jesus says, it's mid day, you're exhausted, get your nets, we're going fishing.    Pretty close to my request for an elk hunt with an exhausted man who knows there are no elk on Mud lake.  Insanity, right.

So, I give Peter a lot of credit.  Simon.  We haven't heard him called Peter by Luke until later in this story.  I give Simon a lot of credit.

And Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing,

Now if it were me, sadly, that's where the conversation would have ended.  I'm exhausted and I'm not doing anything until I go catch me 5 or 6 good hours of rejuvenating rest.  Guilty.  Way guilty, too often guilty.  That's why my fruit basket to give back to the Saviour only has a few shriveled grapes.  A few sour raisins.

Simon says;  but at Your bidding I will let down the nets.”

It's an unreasonable request, but, I've been listening to you and watching what your Father is doing through you by His Spirit, and . . . OK, let's go fishing.  Mid day.  Where we know there are no fish.  Where we exhausted our selves all night long catching nothing.  

Anybody else, I wouldn't walk across the street, but You . . . you're obviously different.  

This isn't so much faith as blind obedience.  Perhaps Simon's thinking, whoopee we'll go do this weird request, and if we catch 6 fish, then there's more work to do.  I'll have to clean the nets again.  And clean the fish.  I'd rather just take a nap, Jesus.

Sometimes Jesus will ask you to do something you know is impossible and your brain can't fathom a worthwhile return even at best case scenario.

Last night I was talking to Heather on the phone and she was asking for prayer about her move to Oregon, because things weren't going as quickly and neatly as she hoped.  I told her to go look up Proverbs 3:5 -6

Everybody should have that memorized.  It's the key to success in God's kingdom.  Maybe Simon repeated those verses to himself after Jesus said, get the nets, lets go fishin.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart  and
Lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways, acknowledge Him
and He shall direct thy paths.

What a simple formula.  Jesus has made a request beyond the limits of Simons' best understanding.  Crazy talk.  Let's go get the fish nets dirty again in the middle of the day with no sleep.

In all they ways acknowledge Him.  but at Your bidding I will let down the nets.”   and He shall direct thy paths.

Blind obedience beyond the limits of our understanding . . What did Simon call Him.  He used a title when he began his response to Jesus crazy request?

Master.  Epistata.  It's the word you call the boss.  Authority. Epistata. It isn't the word a slave calls his owner.  The word means someone in charge.  The boss.

The request is made.  Simon knows it's crazy.  Ludicrous.  But Jesus is the boss, and Simon is the workman.  We're going fishing......

at Your bidding I will let down the nets.” 6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish; and their nets began to break; 7 and they signaled to their partners in the other boat, for them to come and help them. And they came, and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink.

He shall direct thy paths.  This is the result of blind obedience to the boss.

Suddenly there are thousands of fish that just learned to swim, seconds ago, when God created them out of nothing.

So many fish the nets are breaking and Peter sends out the emergency call to the fishing business partners.

Jesus just created a few thousand fish in Simon's net.  Too many for his nets so He calls for help.  It hasn't dawned on him yet what just happened.  That the creator of the universe just spoke hundreds of fish into being from nothing, in his net, fish that never swam, fish that were . . . nothing.

Or perhaps this is omniscience at work.  God called a few hundred fish from all over the lake to be at a certain place at a certain time and they obey.  And Jesus knows exactly where they are at.

But Simon is going to have the reaction that every person who reads this should also have.  Once it dawns on Him what God has just done.

8But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”

There's one other place in the bible that your brains should go, and I'm very sure it's where Simon's went to begin to know what to do.  And that is;  Isaiah 6.

What Peter naturally does, his reflexive reaction, is the same as Isaiah's.  Listen to Isaiah give his account.  Isa. 6:     

1 In the year of King Uzziah’s death, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. 2 Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called out to another and said,
            “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts,
            The whole earth is full of His glory.”

4 And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. 5 Then I said,
            “Woe is me, for I am ruined!
            Because I am a man of unclean lips,
            And I live among a people of unclean lips;
            For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”

Peter says, Depart from me Oh Lord, for I am a sinful man.  That's what Isaiah said when he saw God.  That's where Peter's reflexive mind goes, because he has just realized, God is in his boat.  God is in his boat.

Peter is prostrate before Jesus, and as usual, guess who follows Peter;

9 For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken; 10 and so also James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon.

And what does Luke, not without thought, he does nothing by accident, what does Luke call Simon for the first time in his narrative.  Simon Peter.

This is a benchmark day for Peter.  All of a sudden Simon realizes that God is in his boat, and for the first time he begins to act like Rock, not Simon.

From that day forward, Peter only wants to be one place, and that place is as close to Jesus as he can get.  From this moment forward, every time you see Simon Peter, he'll be clinging to Jesus.

When Jesus comes walking on the water in the storm, Simon says I don't want to be in this boat without you, call me and I'll walk to you.  On the water.  And he did.  For a minute or two.

And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.” 11And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.

Peter understood for the first time, this person, this Jesus is God.  And Peter and James and John and Andrew who is never mentioned with these inner 3, maybe he wasn't there that day, we don't know, but these men leave their fishing business behind and begin to follow Jesus.  Full time occupation.  They are learning to be fishers of men.

Actually, the calendar changed because of them.  With the Risen Lord, by the Holy Spirit's power, these men turned the world upside down.