Reverend Dr. William H. Curtis

Luke 5:1-11 (AMP)

When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon [Peter], “Put out into the deep water and lower your nets for a catch [of fish].” Simon replied, “Master, we worked hard all night [to the point of exhaustion] and caught nothing [in our nets], but at Your word I will [do as you say and] lower the nets [again].” When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their nets were [at the point of] breaking; so they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats [with fish], so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw this, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” For he and all his companions were completely astounded at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon [Peter]. Jesus said to Simon, “Have no fear; from now on you will be catching men!”  After they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him [becoming His disciples, believing and trusting in Him and following His example].

Have you ever had a rough night? A rough day? A tough year? Times like this can take the wind out of your sails. It’s tough to keep showing up for anything but the mediocre when life gets like this.

When life gets like this, all you want to do is retreat—to bed, to the recliner, to anywhere but here.

We also have this reaction when we’re asked to do something out-of-the-ordinary like serve in a new ministry, reach out to a sandpaper person, or go on that mission trip. Our first reaction is fear or doubt, which are close cousins. Our mind tells us, “No, not me. I’m too…I’ve too much…Not now…”

That’s what Peter does in the beginning of this conversation with Jesus on the boat. He’s cleaning up after a failed night of fishing and Jesus says, “Let’s go back. Let’s go fishing.”

Everything in Peter is telling him to not do this. He’s too tired and frustrated. That’s his human lens, but when he puts on his faithful lens, it says: “But at Your word I will lower the nets again.”

The result? When he lowers his fear and lets faith step in, Peter experiences the power of success with Christ. That’s the answer. We have to trust that Jesus wants us to succeed.

That first step of faith is radical. When Jesus calls us to Him, we want to do everything He wills for us. As we grow in faith, we face the struggle of this Christian life—the world’s way or Christ’s way.

Jesus wasn’t going fishing because He was hungry. He was firing up His disciples to do the real work. He explains the incredible journey He’s about to take Peter on—“Have no fear; from now on you will be catching men” (Luke 5:10, AMP).

So, how do you do what Peter did? How do you become the man or woman Christ beckons you to become? Here are three steps from our passage:

1.Accept the risk of faith. Faith does not come without risk. It means we have to die to ourselves. It means we have to get to the end of our rope. We have to be willing to put the boat back in the water when He calls us to do it, even if we aren’t sure. But trust the risk. Jesus gives you power to overcome the objections, the fears, the naysayers. All you have to do is show up and keep watching Him.

2.Tap into your God-given imagination. This passage was interesting because Peter is a visionary. He’s impulsive and sees that Jesus is going to change the world. But sometimes, his sin and humanness catch up to him. Trust that vison. Trust that God has a specific plan for your life and you are his child. He wants the best for you.

3.Say no to your fear and stay close to Jesus. Peter was not unfamiliar with Jesus. He’d seen him heal. He’d seen him preach. He knew that Jesus was worth the risk of saying no to his fear. This exercise is immensely easier when we are close to Christ through our prayer, our presence, our practice of reading and applying His Word.

Don’t forget what Jesus said in Matthew 5:14-16. You are His plan for reaching this broken world. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”