Luke Chapter 5 unpacks many important things, from the calling of the first disciples to Jesus healing a man of leprosy, Jesus healing a paralyzed man, and even a brief teaching on the purpose and importance of fasting. And, as you read, study, and pray today, I can't wait to hear all about what the Lord speaks to you through His word today. Definitely don't forget to share more with us in the comments as we continue to Dwell in His presence and on His word together in 2023.
But with my time today, I want to focus on the first portion of this chapter, where Jesus calls the first disciples. In your personal study time today, I encourage you to take a moment to glance over at Matthew 4, Mark 1, & John 1, where this same theme of Jesus calling the first disciples is echoed.
However, I'm excited to tackle Luke chapter 5 today because it is my favorite account of this story. Why? Probably because it reveals a bit of the why behind the who, and for a Type 1 detail-oriented person, the more details, the better!
So let's start reading there in Luke chapter 5 verse 1:
"One day, as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. He noticed two empty boats at the water's edge, for the fisherman had left them and were washing their nets. Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So He sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there."
Jesus has not yet called Simon; he is not yet a disciple. So it definitely had to feel a little random to have Jesus walk up to you, climb on your boat, and have you row him out into the water for a place from which to preach and teach.
But Simon does it! And Luke tells us that "after He was finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish."
At this point, Simon starts to put up a bit of a defense, saying "Look, we have been out there for hours fishing and have not caught a single thing. I highly doubt this time around is going to be any different. But, "if you say so, I'll let the nets down again.'"
Maybe it's because I'm the mom of a 16-year-old, but when I read that passage, I immediately envision Simon saying it with a bit of an eye roll - even if not outwardly but inwardly. Parents, you know what I'm talking about. That internal struggle that shows ALL OVER our teens and pre-teens faces that says, "I'm going to listen to you, but I'm not gonna like it," with an underlying theme of "And I'm just going to make my opinion known so that we are all on the same page when I prove I am right!"
However, when Simon obeys the Lord and pushes his boat back out into the water, the Lord blesses him with an abundance of fish. So much so that another boat has to be called out in order to help haul in the massive haul of fish!
If there was an "I'll obey, but I doubt it" eye roll either on Simon's face or even simply in his heart that day, it was all wiped away when Jesus did what only He can do and blessed Simon with an ABUNDANCE of fish!
Can we just stop right here and take a moment to give the Lord thanks for His faithfulness to provide for and bless His people, even when we have glimmers of doubt and uncertainty trying to cloud our vision? Even though Luke showed a bit of hesitancy in believing the Lord when he said, "Go out and put your nets back in the water", he ultimately obeyed, and the Lord honored that step of faith obedience with incredible favor and blessing. Goodness, I am so thankful that the Lord can see past our doubts and fears, and insecurities and straight to our hearts that long to honor our father and obey His every leading.
And it was then, after seeing the Lord's faithfulness shine through those thoughts of doubt, that Luke chapter 5, verses 8 & 9 tell us that "When Simon realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, "Oh Lord, please leave me - I'm too much of a sinner to be around you." For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught…."
Have you ever been there? So overcome by the Lord's goodness in light of your brokenness that you almost subconsciously shut yourself off from God and his blessings because you have deemed yourself unworthy and undeserving? Well, can I just be the bringer of truth today and say - You are! You ARE unworthy. You ARE undeserving. We all are!
I know that doesn't sound too encouraging, but it's the truth! In and of ourselves, we will never be worthy! It is only through the Grace of God that we are blessed and made worthy.
Ephesians 2:8 says, "For it is by GRACE you have been saved, through faith…."
James 1:17 states, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father…."
And Psalm 16:2 declares, "I say to the Lord, 'You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.'"
Clearly, all throughout scripture, we are reminded that we are a lost and broken people, deserving of nothing, but who are blessed with "every good and perfect gift," which are given to us in abundance as Children of God when we put our faith and trust in Him and are obedient to His leading.
And then, if we skip down to verse 11, we see this passage of scripture wrap up with these powerful words: "And AS SOON AS THEY LANDED, they left everything and followed Jesus."
Did you catch that? As. Soon. As. They. Landed. That, my friends, is some immediate obedience!
When you read this same account of Jesus calling the first disciples in the other Gospels, you are basically just given the end of the story - Jesus saying to a fisherman, "Hey! Come follow me, and I will teach you how to fish for people instead!" And they followed! Which has left me at times wondering, But why? How? Who even does that? I'm not sure I would have that same level of faith and obedience if I were on that boat.
But Luke gives us a unique perspective which shows us a bit of the "behind the scenes" that is taking place in this story. You see, before Jesus called Simon to leave everything - his family and his livelihood - Jesus showed him that He could be trusted. That He is who He says He is, and He does what He says He will do. He didn't require BLIND obedience but rather FAITH obedience.
And the same is true for us today! No, most of us are not going to be out on our fishing boats when Jesus walks about and blesses us with an abundance of fish hopping into our boat. But what we will see is God's faithfulness in bringing unexplainable peace amidst life's greatest storms. His provision in providing a job to pay our heating and electric bills so that we can stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. And His grace when He reminds us in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that, "...My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…" in those times that we are feeling unworthy, unloved, and even unlovable.
In other words, we can and will see God's grace, power, and faithfulness shining throughout our day-to-day lives if only we will be intentional too, like Simon, recognize what God has done (verse 8a), thank and honor him for His faithfulness (verse 8b), and then, through FAITH obedience (not blind obedience), IMMEDIATELY step out and follow Him wherever He leads.