This coming Sunday we’ll begin our new worship series, “Tales of the Sea,” to look more deeply into Jesus’ ministry — and the call to his disciples — that took place largely around and on the Sea of Galilee. In this series we’ll be looking at six different stories from the Gospels and considering how we might apply them to our lives today. Just as Jesus called each of his first Disciples to use his special talents, gifts, and abilities for the sake of others, so it is with us today.
The first story comes to us from the Gospel of Luke at the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry. It isn’t long after he taught in the synagogue in Nazareth and had to leave his hometown because his challenging message of inclusion and grace did not sit well with the residents of Nazareth. He has settled in Capernaum, a town on the Sea of Galilee.
One day he is walking by the sea. A crowd gathers around him and he begins to teach. One of the first fishermen he sees is Simon. Jesus asks Simon to row him out from the shore so that he could use the boat as a place to sit and teach the crowd gathered on the shore.
Then he said to Simon, “Row out farther and drop your net into deep water and drop your nets for a catch.”
Simon was dubious. After all, they were professionals — commercial fishermen. They had been fishing all night and hadn’t caught a thing! Nevertheless, Simon agreed and rowed out farther and dropped the nets as instructed. All the while I think Simon was saying, “This is a waste of time, but if you say so, we’ll do it.”
And as the story goes they caught so many fish the nets were splitting and the boat was in danger of sinking.
Sounds like a fish story, right? But pay attention to the key line in our scripture: “Don’t be afraid. From now on, you will be fishing for people.”
So they took the boats to shore, left everything behind and followed Jesus.
Would you have listened to Jesus even though he was not an expert in your field? Would you have left the catch of a lifetime behind to follow someone just because he said to? Would you have been willing to give up all that was familiar to you to do work you had no idea about?
Let’s think a little more deeply about that last question. Is that really what Jesus was asking them to do and asks us to do? I don’t think so. This Sunday I’ll tell you why.
I look forward to seeing you then!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster,