Friday, July 5, 2019
For the past few weeks we have laid the foundation for joining the incredible adventure of sharing the Good News with people so that they can be saved from their sin. Now it’s time to learn some of the basic principles of witnessing. There is no better place to learn them than from the Master Himself.
Luke 5:1-11 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, he saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
In today’s story, which takes place near the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, I see five things that are foundational to our efforts to evangelize the world. Let’s briefly look at them:
- Jesus used whatever resources were available to Him to accomplish His purpose. In this case he used someone’s fishing boat as a pulpit from which to preach. This is a great model for us in the church: whatever we have is to be shared with whomever needs it to accomplish God’s purpose.
- Jesus gave specific instructions as to where the “fish” could be found. He told Simon Peter to move the boat out to deep water and let down the nets. God’s direction for where we go with the gospel may seem humanly unwise, may take us out of our comfort zone, may be an inconvenience to us and may test our endurance, but God knows where the fish are and when they are ready to be caught.
- Simon Peter obeyed Jesus. Despite his objections, Simon took Jesus at His word. He demonstrated great faith in what Jesus said and he trusted the outcome to the Lord. He set aside his personal preferences for the sake of following the Lord’s commands.
- Jesus produced incredible results. When we follow God’s directions we experience God’s deliverance. Jesus delivered up to them a huge catch of fish, and He will deliver up to us a huge harvest of souls if we faithfully follow His guidance.
- Jesus never expects us to do it alone. Simon signaled his partners to come and help him. We have partners also in this work of spreading the good news, and we need to call out to them to join us in what God is asking us to do.
After fishing, Jesus invited Simon to apply the principles he learned while catching all of those fish to a new fishing adventure – fishing for the souls of men. We should do the same. Here they care again:
- Use your resources for God’s glory
- Listen carefully to God’s directions
- Obey God’s directions
- Be ready for great results
- Include others in your outreach
Jesus showed us how it worked with fish and He wants to show us how it works with people.
Anyone up for a fishing trip?