The next in a series of messages, taking us right through to Easter, looking at the original 12 disciples of Jesus under the general heading of – “How God uses the average to achieve the amazing”
As a youngster more often than not when I went fishing I caught nothing; but here, with the not considerable help of Jesus, the disciples are somewhat more successful, with Jesus having already called them to conversion, now using the occasion to call them to, and to teach them about mission.
When Jesus had finished teaching the crowd from a floating pulpit, he then instructed Simon to – “put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” There were a number of reasons as to why this would seem like a crazy idea:-
- The nets had just been washed and hung out to dry.
- You went fishing in the shallows and at night on the Sea of Galilee.
- Simon had been fishing unsuccessfully all night.
Amazingly Simon obeyed, and is rewarded with the largest catch of his career, which tears his nets and almost sinks his boat. A growing awareness of who Jesus is descends upon the vessel in the light of this miraculous catch, and the disciples then leave everything behind to follow their new Master. The story identifies some of the key principles of effective mission:
1 – Content (v 1.)
From the lips of Jesus the people were listening to – “the word of God.” The message that is to be presented is not the word of man, or the latest trendy idea, but the timeless truth that is the word of God, this being the core content of any message that is presented in mission.
2 – Cleanliness (v 2.)
When Jesus requested the use of one of the fishing boats, the disciples were “washing their nets” so that they might be rid of all weed and dirt. We are the nets that God will use to land any spiritual catch, and so there must be no obvious sin in our lives that would negate the effectiveness of the message.
3 – Confidence (v 5.)
Simon had such confidence in Jesus that when instructed to lower the nets in the deep water, despite his professional objections, his response was – “but because you say so, I will let down the nets.” His confident obedience was rewarded with a bumper harvest of fish. Although we as the nets do have our part to play, it is he and he alone, who generates and grants the catch and so we must look to him in obedience.
4 – Collaboration (v 7.)
The catch was so large that a single boat with its nets could not handle the sheer volume of fish – “so they signalled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them.” Sometimes mission and its fruit can be such a size that one individual cannot handle the response and other believers and churches need to be invited to co-operate and get involved.
5 – Commitment (v 11.)
Jesus challenged the disciples to become fishers of men, and so they – “left everything and followed him.” The time had now come for full time discipleship, so they left behind their homes, their families and their businesses and “bought into” Jesus and his mission completely and utterly. The “everything” may well be different for us, but Jesus still demands that we be “sold out” on him and devoted to his mission so that a rich spiritual harvest might be brought into his Kingdom.
Challenge – How effective are YOU in mission? Mark yourself out of five!
Theme: “Catch of the day!”
Reading: Luke 5 v 1 – 11
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Richard Sills