Simon and his co-workers had been fishing all night . . . and had caught nothing. Six hours on the lake with zero fish caught equaled an effective wage of $0 per hour. Tired and discouraged, Simon and his friends hit the shoreline and began to clean their nets. As they were wrapping up their post-fishing routine, Jesus of Nazareth arrived on the beach teaching the masses. So many people are crowding around Jesus that He needed to separate from the crowd a bit so that His message could be better heard by more people. Jesus turned to the tired fisherman and asked to borrow Simon’s boat as an impromptu stage. Simon obliged and continued to clean his equipment as Jesus preached from his boat.
After Jesus finished His message, He turned to Simon and said, “Let’s go fishing.” At this point Simon was put in an awkward spot. Simon had been around Jesus enough to know that Jesus had a lot of wisdom when it came to Theology and the spiritual life. Simon also knew that Jesus was a carpenter by trade. If Jesus had been offering Simon advice on constructing a table or interpreting Isaiah 40, then Simon would have probably been taking notes, but in this instance . . . it must have felt odd for the fisherman to get fishing advice from the carpenter.
Simon did not “blow off” Jesus’ advice, however, and headed back out onto the water to fish some more. This was a FANTASTIC decision on Simon’s part. Simon caught so many fish on that mid-morning cast that he almost broke his nets and sank his boat. The volume of fish caught would have brought in a pretty penny on the open fish market. Simon worked all night for $0, but in a moment, he made a month’s worth of profit!
Simon could have viewed this moment a few different ways. Simon could have thought to himself, “I was due a catch like this . . . after all I am a great fisherman!” Simon also could have thought, “Jesus is a great addition to my business team . . . I should ask Him to join me in my fishing business! We made a killing in one night . . . just think of how much we could make in a year!” These were real human options for Simon’s response, but both of these options would have been woefully inadequate for the events that had just transpired. Instead of looking at this moment as a selfish “win/win” Simon realized that he was in the presence of God, because a miracle had just occurred. Recognizing this, Simon dropped to his knees and exclaimed, “Lord, you must depart from me because I am a sinful man.” Instead of responding with chest-pounding haughtiness, Simon responded with knee scraping humility . . . and Jesus is delighted: Simon got it.
Upon seeing Simon on the ground, Jesus responds by giving Him forgiveness, purpose, and fellowship with Him. What gifts! What grace! Jesus says in Luke 5:10, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” In 5:11, the fishermen are said to have “followed Him.” In the end, Simon and his friends did not see Jesus joining their business, but they did see Jesus asking them to join His!
This past Sunday at Wildwood, we looked at this passage more in depth as a part of our “Father’s Stories” series. In this message, we talked about how we (like Simon and the fishermen before us) are given the opportunity to see God at work in the world around us . . even in areas of the world where we think we know best. When we see God at work, if we submit ourselves to Him, then He gives us in return forgiveness, purpose, and fellowship . . . we are invited to join Him in His work in this world (even if we fish, or have a business, or raise a family, or whatever, as a part of our day job.) We have a new higher ultimate purpose and provision in Christ.
What thoughts have you had in response to Sunday’s message? Any application or questions that have stood out to you? Feel free to share in the comments below!