You have worked a very long and hard life. You have dedicated your life to a multitude of good things. You have provided for your family either by your financial provisions or through the loving compassionate care you’ve given them. You have built up a lifetime of worldly knowledge. You have undertaken many responsibilities. Perhaps you keep up with local sports. You have voted in many elections and perhaps have become very involved with local or nation-wide politics. Maybe recently you have become very serious about issues that effect our daily lives like mandatory vs. non-mandatory vaccinations and masks. You have built a life in this world and filled it with a collection of cherished memories, thoughts, ideals, and relationships. But this message from Luke chapter 5 is very simple: leave your nets.
Simon Peter was a life-long fisherman who was born and raised in a fishing town. Simply put, he knew his stuff. But then one day a teacher got into his boat while he was teaching the crowds that had gathered around him. I don’t know exactly where Simon was or what he was doing at this point, but you can be assured that he was hearing what this teacher, named Jesus, had to say. After Jesus taught, he told Simon to go and fish some more. Simon obeyed this instruction, and then something happened that would change his life forever! This interaction can be found in Luke 5:4-7 which states, “When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.’ ‘Master,’ Simon replied, ‘we’ve worked hard all night long and caught nothing. But if you say so, I’ll let down the nets.’ When they did this, they caught a great number of fish, and their nets began to tear. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them; they came and filled both their boats so full that they began to sink.”
Simon knew more about fishing than most of the people of Galilee at this time. So when Simon thought it was time to go home for the night, there was a good reason he had come to that conclusion. But when Jesus told him to let down the nets, he did without question because he had heard the trustworthy teaching and authority of Jesus. Simon saw what he knew was a miracle from God, thus concluded that Jesus was a holy and righteous man. Simon tells Him in verse 8, “Go away from me, because I am a sinful man, Lord!” But Jesus had much more in His plans for Simon. Simon was a sinful, unworthy man, but he was also a humble, eager, passionate man. Jesus knew that his heart could be used in the kingdom. Instead of justifiably casting Simon away from Him, He extended an invitation. Jesus tells Simon in verse 10 that “From now on you will be catching people.” Jesus wanted Simon to follow Him and learn from Him. And Simon more than obliged!
In verse 11, Luke records that Simon left everything and followed Jesus. He left his nets behind! Think about that for a moment. Simon quit his job, forfeited a comfortable life, and newly purposed his life to follow Jesus. Nothing else mattered to him. Following Jesus had become the most urgent matter in his life. Simon had been catching fish his whole life, and I’m sure it was very fulfilling to be able to provide for he and his wife in that way; work is a very fulfilling purpose. But Jesus invited him to have a new purpose and meaning by fishing for people.
What about you? What have you worked for your whole life? Perhaps your passion is for work, politics, or social issues, none of which are sinful, and can even be good things. But Jesus has issued us a higher calling: He has invited us to see His goodness and show it to others. In Matthew 28, Jesus commissioned His followers to “go…make disciples of all nations, baptizing them…”. Maybe following Jesus doesn’t mean completely overhauling our daily lives like Simon and the apostles did. But perhaps we need to shift the lens from a sole focus on the issues of this world to the matters of the kingdom and God’s greater purpose for our lives. Search your heart. Search your life. Leave your nets.