From Failure to Success - A Reflection on Luke 5:1-11
Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.
Over the past several years, people have come to me for counseling on various issues, and although these cover the entire spectrum of human related problems, there is one common denominator. The people are all stuck. Whether it is an addiction they cannot overcome, or a relationship that’s steadily disintegrating, or a financial burden they cannot get over, they don’t know what to do.
Well, much as I would like to help them solve their problems, I don’t have the power to do anything, but that’s ok, because I happen to know somebody who does. And that’s Jesus, who really can fix anything if we allow him to. Today’s story is a case in point. Peter went fishing with his mates and although they tried hard all night the fish were elusive and they caught nothing.
That’s a pretty bad frame of mind to be in and I can imagine Peter muttering and cursing as he cleaned his nets, undoubtedly worried about how he was going to lay food on the table that day, when everything suddenly changes. I want you to pay attention to the sequence of events. First, Jesus asks to use Peter’s boat. This gets Peter away from what he is busying himself with, and diverts him from the thoughts that are troubling him.
Second, Jesus continues to preach, but now Peter starts to listen. You simply cannot hear somebody like Jesus preach and not listen; he had not been listening to anything while cleaning his nets. Third, after Jesus was done talking, he tells Peter to go fishing again. Peter tells him that he spent the entire night fishing but hadn’t caught anything. Yeah, Jesus agrees, but that was without me.
Fourth, Peter catches so many fish the nets begin to break, and he understands that the reason this man preaches with power is because he is power. Fifth, and finally, Jesus tells him that now he has discovered who Jesus is, to come and follow him. And Peter immediately obeys. So, what do we learn? One, get out of whatever you are doing and go to Jesus. Two, listen to him. He speaks through his word. Three, try one more time, this time with Jesus by your side. Four, experience your miracle. Five, follow Jesus.
It’s really that simple!