Even When We Think We Know Better
Luke 5:1 Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, 2 he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” 11 When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.
Peter was an ordinary man going about his own business, trying to catch fish. The scene on the seashore must have been fascinating as people were literally crushing this man named Jesus who was a religious teacher. Trying to place some distance between himself and the people he stepped into Peter’s boat, seemingly without asking permission. This becomes the pulpit from which Jesus is able to preach to the people, but Peter also becomes a captive audience of one. There is no place to go and so Peter must have sat back and listened to this man. We don’t know what Jesus says but it must have had an impact on this fisherman because when he finishes Jesus tells him to throw his nets back into the water. With just a little bit of push-back Peter explains that they have already been fishing all night, but having been influenced by this man teaching from his boat, he responds, “yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” Just because Jesus tells him to do so, Peter, the fisherman, obeys the religious teacher. The result is miraculous and a sign of the future that Jesus has in store for Peter.
Even when Peter thought he knew better, he trusted Jesus. That faith in Jesus led to a life that Peter would never have even imagined. He was an ordinary fisherman who went on to become the rock on which the church would be built. His influence continues to this day because he chose to believe.
I read several scriptures today that relate to the call of God on peoples’ lives. The first was David — and ordinary little shepherd boy who chose to live his life in radical obedience to God. Next was the calling of Elisha, when Elijah runs up to him and throws his cloak over him. Elisha is working as a farmer with a massive yoke of 12 oxen — meaning he must have been some successful guy! He leaves it all to follow Elijah and pick up his mantle. Then, there is Peter, a professional fisherman who is so impacted by Jesus spending one day in his boat that he leaves it all to follow him.
All three of these people were professionals in their own right. David was a great shepherd, Elijah was an incredible farmer, and Peter was a professional fisherman. Yet, in all three of these peoples’ lives we find that God speaks to them and leads them in a different direct. The interesting thing with Peter is that Jesus even instructs him on fishing, and Peter listens. God gets right into the nitty-gritty of our daily lives and begins to lead us. We may think that we know better than the Lord what it is that we are doing. After all — many of us have been busy doing what we do for a very long time. When Jesus shows up and tells us what to do it can feel like an interruption, or disruption to our daily lives. Peter had a routine of fishing — he was already finished for the day — and he was washing out his nets. Why in the world would Jesus ask him to try and fish again? And yet, Jesus does and Peter responds with more fish than he could have imagined.
Following Jesus means stepping out in faith, even in areas where we may think that we are the experts. Jesus isn’t asking us to only trust him in certain vulnerable areas of our lives, but in every area of our life. This includes the parts that we think may be going well. Maybe God wants to do even more in our lives, take the good and make it even better! Far too often we become satisfied and complacent with where we find ourselves in life. Along comes Jesus and tells us to engage in something that will stretch us outside of our comfort zone. If it truly comes from Jesus, we should not fear for he has a plan in mind. Jesus knew what he wanted to do in and through Peter, but he had to know whether Peter would trust him. There were moments of growth throughout Peter’s life when his faith was tested but ultimately, he continued to live into that trajectory.
Even when we think we know better, we must follow Jesus in faith. When we try to maintain control we may find ourselves in a place of fear, for we cannot control everything. God is the one who is leading us, and living in faith and allowing God to intervene in every area of our lives is the only place to find security. We don’t know it all and Jesus is our Master. Let’s listen and follow in obedience.
Lord, please help me to have ears to hear and a heart filled with obedience to you. Amen.