Dear friend in Christ.
A number of years ago I was traveling on a plane to my destination and my companion next to me who was a teacher, finding out that I was a pastor, asked me a question. “Do you know about the hook method?” I did not know what she was driving at so I asked her what she meant by that and she went on to explain of how important it is in teaching to first of all connect them to real life situations before beginning to teach the subject or topic of the hour. I then understood of the principle that she was talking about.
In our lesson today, Jesus gives a very good example of how this works as he first made a connection with the ones He was going to call to follow Him by focusing on their occupation of fishing. Let us take a look at what He did, how He did it and why He did it.
KJV Luke 5:1 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret,
2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.
3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.
4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.
5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.
6 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.
7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.
8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.
9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:
10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.
11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.
He drew them into a conversation about fishing, using their boat as a pulpit and then revealed to them His divine nature. For He caused them to catch so many fish that the boats being to sink. At this Peter, overcome by some awareness that this man Jesus was more than just another man, but was One who had the ability to fill the nets, told the Lord: O Lord, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man. To which Jesus replied, “Don’t fear, for from now on you will be catching men!”
We understand that Jesus did this because He was beginning to prepare for the training of disciples some of whom He would appoint to be Apostles. It was the first stage of His calling them to follow Him, and during the 3 and half years there would be many lessons for them to learn from their Teacher, who would become their Friend and who then as the best Friend ever, would become their Saviour.
As I have been meditating upon this message, it has come to me to think of what stage I am in the my call to follow Him. I have asked questions of what does it mean to follow Him, what does it mean to leave all, Is He my teacher in that I am prepared to hear Him, Is He really my best friend, what does it mean that He is my/our Saviour? Good things to consider and think about in our lives…….
In closing, may I share a little of my experience of being invited to follow Him by being called to leave the work a day world (jtimber industry) to serve Him in public ministry. He spoke like this to me, using the same pattern that He used to call the disciples to Him. He said,” You have harvested enough trees, now I am asking you to leave that harvest and become a harvester of souls.”
Peter at first resisted as he looked at his inabilities as a fallen human, not yet recognizing that He was clean through the very Word that was standing in front of him. In a sense, Jesus proclaimed the Gospel to Him through that which was already done before the foundation of the world, but which would happen in the very near future on the cross of Calvary. Through the power of the Cross of Christ, all humanity has been washed and redeemed in the blood of Christ, and when believing this Gospel for the remission of sin one is empowered, equipped and commissioned to go out and to fish for the souls which the Lord has brought to us to catch.
May the Lord help us to see that the power is in His Word, a Word informs souls of their value and of their need to be caught by the Word to their joy and salvation. May we trust the Word of God in Christ Jesus, and let our Gospel nets down into the recesses of this world.
A fellow fisherman,
Pastor Orval Wirkkala