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, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 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. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." And Simon answered, "Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets." And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. 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. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 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." And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him. Luke 5:1-11
I remember when I was contemplating studying for the ministry, an uncle of mine jokingly told me being a pastor was a great job because you only had to work a half-day a week and you could go fishing the rest of the time.
To be honest with you, it's even better than that. A pastor's job allows him to go fishing every day of the week. And, of course, the same is true for every Christian. Even though we may have toiled all night and tried everything we can think of, Jesus tells us to let down the nets for a catch and He fills the nets beyond belief.
Jesus calls you and me -- every believer -- to be fishers of men (cf. Luke 5:10; Luke 24:46-47; Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16) and He commands us to let down our nets again and again, trusting that He will accomplish His purposes.
And so we do. We continue to preach and proclaim God's Word, knowing and trusting God's promise that His Word will not return to Him void, without accomplishing His purpose (Isaiah 55:10-11).
Perhaps we can take the analogy of our text even further. Jesus commanded His disciples to launch out into the deep and let down their nets for a catch. He didn't tell them to stand on the safety of the shore and try to bait the fish in. He sent them out to where the fish were -- in the deep -- and it is there where they were to let down their nets.
So also, Jesus would have us to go out into the world where the people are -- maybe even into places we would rather not go -- and there let down our nets. It doesn't usually work to call the fish to come onto the shore or to jump into our boats. Nor is it sufficient to simply invite people to come within the walls of our church building that they might hear the Word of God and believe. We need to go to them and find ways to reach them with the Word of God where they are. It's only when they are caught in the net out there that they can be brought into the boat and in here (our church building)!
So, how do we launch out into the deep that we might catch men for Jesus? First of all, we need to go out where the people are and not expect them to come to us where we are.
Secondly, we need to let down our nets, and they may need to be let down deep to where the fish are. That means finding ways to touch people's lives with God's Word where they are and in ways that they will hear.
Thirdly, we need to remember who it is that fills the nets and follow His fishing instructions. We won't catch souls for Jesus unless the nets we let down are His words of Law and Gospel -- warning people concerning their sin and its eternal consequences and telling them of God's mercy and forgiveness and life in Christ Jesus, who fulfilled all righteousness for us and then suffered and died on the cross for our sins and the sins of all and rose again in victory!
And what a great job God has given us! We get to go fishing every day by taking the message of His Word out into the deep, where the lost are, and catching them with the good news of forgiveness of sins and eternal life through faith in Christ Jesus, God's Son and our Savior!
Dear Lord Jesus, You have called us to be fishers of men, to launch out into the deep and let down the net of Your Word for a catch. Grant us the faith to go out into the world and proclaim Your Word to people where they are that You might fill the nets and bring people from the depths of sin to faith in You as their Savior. Amen.
[Devotion by Randy Moll. Scripture quotations are from The ESV® (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]
Religion on 07/31/2019
Print Headline: Jesus calls us to be fishers of men