Luke 5:5b “But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
I have often used a variation of this on my son when he was younger. He has a penchant for tireless explanations to try and get out of things I ask him to do and in doing so he would wear out my patience and I would say in response to his millionth why ‘Just do it because mum said so.’ I would follow it later with an explanation that he just has to trust mum even if he does not entirely understand all aspects of the why of it.
But how often have I been like that with God. Have I always listened and trusted even when I struggled to comprehend and said “But because you say so Lord, I will.”
These words above in Luke 5 were said by Peter, when Jesus calls his very first disciples. Jesus was at the Lake of Gennesaret. He was surrounded by a crowd of people to whom he was teaching the word. He spots two boats and gets into the one belonging to Simon Peter and he says to put out a little from shore so that he can sit down and teach the people from the boat. Simon Peter was with his brother Andrew.
Jesus asks them to give him something
- Their time
- Their willingness
- Their resources
Simon and his brother Andrew were out all-night fishing but they were unsuccessful. They were probably tired, hungry and maybe a little dejected as this was their livelihood and they clearly would not be selling anything that day. They probably just wanted to finish washing the nets and go home.
And yet we see Simon respond with willingness and obedience to Jesus. And in doing so he got the best front row seat (in that boat) and listened to Jesus teach.
For us: May our responses to God be more about our willingness to listen to Him and our obedience to what He says than about us. And on that path of obedience with our gaze fixed on Him, we learn from the Lord himself.
We continue to read in verse 4 “When he finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep waters and let down the nets for a catch’.”
Take note that it was when Jesus finished speaking, there is no mention of how long Jesus spoke for. Simon and Andrew were in the boat with Jesus, tired from a full night of unsuccessful fishing. We would expect Simon to say “I gave you my boat and my time Master to teach, but I really do not think it would be of any use to go out to deep waters and try again.”
Instead, how does he respond:
“Master, we have worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so I will let down the nets.”
Remember that there is no promise from Jesus that there would be certainty of catching any fish and yet Simon responds with obedience and submission to Jesus.
For us: A beautiful reminder that the Lord loves to see a willing, trusting and obedient heart in us. We are to trust in Him, even if we are yet to see the results at the end of the path that He has asked us to step on.
They go out to deep waters, let down their nets and catch such a large number of fish that they had to signal their partners in the other boat to come out and help them. And all their nets were so full that they were on the verge of sinking. Everyone was astonished seeing this.
We read in verse 8 “When Simon Peter saw this, he fell on Jesus knees and said, ‘Go away from me Lord; I am sinful man!”
In verse 5 when Simon speaks to Jesus about letting the nets down, he calls Jesus ‘Master’ but in verse 8 he calls Jesus, ‘Lord’.
Simon had spent time with Jesus before this, in the previous chapter in Luke 4:38-39 we read “Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. So, he bent over and rebuked the fever and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.”
Simon had Jesus in his home and has seen Him heal his mother-in-law. From his actions, we understand that he respected Jesus. But there was a shift in him after he goes out to deep waters and experiences this miracle for himself, it is reflected in him calling Jesus ‘Lord’ instead of ‘Master’.
Seeing the power of God at work in such a display brought Simon to his knees. He falls at Jesus feet and says that he is not worthy to be near Jesus. There was growth in that moment for Simon. In light of the purity and power of Jesus, his own sinfulness and unworthiness was more evident to him. And his first instinct is that he is not worthy to be near Jesus. But how does Jesus respond:
Jesus replies to Simon and says “Don’t be afraid, from now on you will catch men. So, they pulled their boats up on the shore, left everything and followed him.”
It was not Simon Peter’s worthiness or righteousness that qualified him to be a disciple. It started with his willingness and obedience to Jesus. Jesus got into the boat while Simon was washing the nets and then told him put out to shore. Simon did not have a course charted out and tell Jesus to hop on while he does his thing. He got into the boat when Jesus asked him to and said ‘Because you say so, I will’.
He said ‘Yes’ to Jesus with his time, his attitude and his resources. And that ‘Yes’ to Jesus allowed him to be led by Jesus to experience and understand more of HIM, and onto the path that Jesus laid out for him.
May our daily walk with God be one of listening to God and of obedience rather than asking God to join us for the plans we have charted out. And may our posture and attitude honour him with our trust reflecting these words “Because you say so Lord, I will”.