Jesus’ Commands May SEEM Foolish…(The Deep Waters)
Let’s take a walk together through Luke 5:1-11, shall we? Bold words are from the Bible…
5 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret,
the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God.
[When is the last time you crowded around listening to the word of God,
hungry, ravenous, intensely desiring the word of God,
re-arranging your schedule for/making sure nothing interrupted your time with
the word of God?
I ask this NOT to make us feel guilty—not at all!
But I do ask this to help us be honest with ourselves and with God:
If we aren’t hungry for God’s Word, do we realize the problem is with us & not God?
If we aren’t hungry for God’s Word, what are we going to do about that?
If we aren’t hungry for God’s Word, what are we feeding ourselves that is ruining our appetites?
Though Jesus did attract crowds of thousands of people, it was only a small percentage of the overall population in the area. That is, most of the people who had heard of Jesus DIDN’T crowd around Him listening to the word of God. We might say, “DUDE! What were they thinking!? They had the chance to see Jesus in Person and they were too busy!!!???? I would TOTALLY have made time for Him!”
Really? Would we really? If we don’t make time to read His Word today, what makes us think we would have made time 2,000 years ago to hear Him say those words in Person? In other words, If we don’t like listening to His song on the radio, what makes us think we would go see Him in concert?
But what if we looked at reading the Bible as opening mail or reading emails that contain specific messages from God to each of us? What if we looked at reading the Bible as opening up messages that God sent DIRECTLY TO US!? If you got a letter in the mail from God, would you open it? I bet you would (“I wonder if there’s a gift card in there!”). Let’s look at the Bible that way…And let’s ask God to develop in us a hunger for Him and His Word…Ask Him to teach us to crowd around Him listening to what He has to say to us…
2 He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who 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 from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
[Amazing. Jesus sees two boats sitting empty—not being used for their purpose! And He then gets into a boat that is not His and essentially begins to take ownership of the boat, asking permission of the owner to use the boat according to Jesus’ will/desires.
See the connection between us today?
If our lives are a boat, are we sitting empty, are we being used for our purpose, are we actively and intentionally becoming who God made us to be and doing what God made us to do?
Will we give Jesus permission to get in our boat, not as a passenger but as the Captain to steer the boat and use the boat according to His will/desires and not our own? (Jesus is NOT your co-pilot…He wants to be your Pilot—you can be His flight attendant, though!) Will we allow Jesus to teach people from our boat—THROUGH OUR LIVES, our actions AND our words!!!???]
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon,
“Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
[Deep water: the unfamiliar, the uncomfortable, the dangerous, the unknown, where you are inexperienced, over your head, out of your comfort zones, away from your idols/safety nets, where you must learn to rely on God alone and not on yourself because the water is too deep, too shark-infested, too stormy, too powerful for you alone. That is the place God wants to take us, but few of us are willing to go there…what deep water is Jesus inviting you into these days?
-Forgiving others tangibly,
-loving others sacrificially,
-pursuing others consistently,
-sharing with God and others generously,
-relinquishing control completely,
-admitting you are wrong unconditionally,
-investing less time in recreation and more time in your Creator…
Notice, Jesus invites Simon first to the deep water and THEN SECOND to a great catch…to desired results…to abundant harvests…
Maybe we are not enjoying all the deep benefits of a friendship with Jesus because we are staying in the shallow end of our friendship with Jesus…]
5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.
But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
[Simon addresses Jesus as Master (not Bro, Homeboy, or Dude)—Simon realizes that Jesus is in charge, that Jesus is the Boss, that Jesus is the King, that Jesus is God. Do we realize this? Do we treat Jesus as our Master, or as our Christian Mascot who simply is supposed to entertain us at halftime?
Then Simon gives two reasons why Jesus’ command doesn’t make any sense, Simon disagrees, Simon thinks Jesus’ command is unwise/foolish/misguided; after all, Simon is the experienced fisherman, Jesus is just a carpenter.
We see God doing this OFTEN in the Bible—giving commands that we/our culture might not agree with:
- Abraham: leave EVERYTHING that is familiar to you and follow a God you do not know to a place you’ve never been for a promise you won’t see realized in your earthly lifetime. THAT’S CRAZY! YES! That’s God…:)
- Abraham (again!): try to conceive a child in your 80s and 90s because God told you that He would bless you with one. IMAGINE what their family/friends said when they announced, like newlyweds, that they were “trying” to have a baby! THAT’S CRAZY! YES! That’s God…:)
- Noah: build a boat for ONE HUNDRED years in the middle of dry ground because God told you to. THAT’S CRAZY! YES! That’s God…:)
- Moses and the Hebrews: kill a bunch of lambs and paint their blood over your front doors so that the angel of death doesn’t kill your firstborn sons. THAT’S CRAZY! YES! That’s God…:)
- Joshua and the Israelites: March around the most powerful fortress city in the known world singing and praising God for 7 days and then blow your trumpets and scream because God said that if you do that then He will knock down the walls Himself. THAT’S CRAZY! YES! That’s God…:)
- Gideon: Though you have no experience in war, attack the powerful army that has been oppressing you, but before you do, reduce your army from 30,000 to 300, and then don’t even bring your swords, just pots and trumpets, all because God told you to. THAT’S CRAZY! YES! That’s God…:)
- Esther: Though your people are “public enemy #1” in a powerful foreign land, reveal to the King who issued the order to kill your people that you are in fact one of those people who should be killed, all because God told you to. THAT’S CRAZY! YES! That’s God…:)
- Foreign Widow: who was dirt poor and whose sons were about to be taken as slaves to pay off an incredibly high debt. Ask your neighbors to borrow ALL the jars in your town, then take the little oil you have left and begin pouring it into all the jars to the top, all because one of God’s prophets told you to so that you can then sell the oil to pay off the debt. THAT’S CRAZY! YES! That’s God…:)
- 2 Dozen Frightened Jesus-People after Jesus was crucified: Risk your lives to tell everyone and anyone about Jesus and His great love for them, even though many will not believe and even though you will be mistreated and eventually killed. THAT’S CRAZY! YES! That’s God…:)
Do you see the pattern here!?!?!
(Now this doesn’t mean that every crazy idea is from God–of course not!!! But many of God’s ways are crazy to us from our imperfect/sinful perspectives)
What are some of the commands of Jesus today that some/many think are ridiculous?
- Forgive and Do Kind Deeds toward those who mistreat you (don’t just not get revenge).
- Give money generously to God and others, even though you have little.
- Pray daily to God throughout your day even though it seems like it does no good.
- Believe Truth in the Bible that horrifies and disgusts some/much of the American/world culture.
- Keep monogamously loving your spouse for the rest of your earthly life even if you are no longer “in-love,” even if you meet someone who you “click with,” who is your “soul-mate”
- Read and follow a 4,000 year old book written in other languages.
- Live for the next life even though you have no scientific proof that there is a “next-life”
- Even if you own needs aren’t being met, focus on meeting the needs of others.
Those are some crazy things that God asks us to do…DEEP WATER stuff! But just as they paid off for folks in the Bible thousands of years ago, they WILL pay off for us as well…
Sometimes the only way for us to see God is to follow Him into the deep (dangerous/unknown) waters of life (Psalm 107:24–31); God often leads us to our desires shores THRU the storm, AFTER He has brought us through it and calmed it…
Please click HERE for the powerful song “Oceans” by United–soak in this song and let it be your prayer to God…
6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began 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 full that they began to sink.
Jesus’ ways, though different than ours, will eventually be proven to be not just one option among many but the BEST option, not an opinion among many but the Truth, not a way among many but the Way…
8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said,
“Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”
Peter realized his unworthiness to be friends with Jesus (and yet Jesus still offers His friendship free to anyone!)…Peter didn’t call himself a “mistaker,” he called himself a sinner. How do you see yourself? A “mistaker” who needs to learn some new tips to have a better life, or a sinner in need of accepting Jesus free gift of a brand-new life?
9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.
[The “experts” were astonished that Jesus could get such results, that Jesus really knew what He was talking about, that Jesus was clearly more than just a carpenter.
Do we believe this? Do we believe that Jesus is Who He says He is, God Himself?
When is the last time we have been astonished by Jesus and His ways?
When is the last time we have followed Jesus into deep waters, when is the last time we obeyed Jesus even if His command seemed foolish/unwise/misguided/un-American?
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.”
An imperfect but a willing faith in Jesus in the deep end prepares us to be used by Jesus to attract people to Him…maybe that is why less and less people are becoming Christians in the U.S…maybe that is why less and less people are saying YES! to Jesus…because those of us who already have aren’t growing, we aren’t willing to follow Jesus into the scary, deep places, we aren’t willing to obey the commands of Jesus that seem foolish/old fashioned/unrealistic…
11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
They pulled their boats up on shore—they literally walked away from their old habits, old actions, old goals, old beliefs, old ways of looking at the world, etc in order to follow Jesus and learn to act like Him, to see themselves and others like Him, to have their opinions line up with His Truth, to pursue His dreams for their lives, etc…have you done that? Have you said YES to Jesus? Have you gotten back into your old boat recently? Take it back to the shore and start following Him again…
Closing Illustration: I pulled into the garage of our house earlier this week, and as I turned off the engine I asked Jesus to help me have the love and strength to love my wife and children that night as He loves His Church—dying to my own desires and living for His desires…I thanked Him for helping me to work hard at church, and I asked Him to help me work hard at home for my wife and children…
And as I prayed, it hit me—how ridiculous I must look, sitting in my car in a freezing garage with no lights on talking to a Person I have never seen or heard physically, asking Him not for money or fame but for strength to carry a cross in loving others sacrificially. THAT’S CRAZY! THAT’S BEAUTIFUL! As foolish/silly/childish as that might seem to some people, to God it is better than a touchdown pass to win the SuperBowl. It is EXACTLY what He desires us to do—things that are foolish in the eyes of the world but that are amazing in the eyes of heaven!
But here’s some encouragement: Someday, when those who have said YES to Jesus are in heaven, when we have been there for thousands of years seeing Him face-to-face, these years on earth of having faith in Him without seeing Him will seem like a distant memory, will seem almost like a dream. Think of your earliest memory from when you were 2 or 3 years old. You were there—it really happened! But it seems almost like a dream, like another lifetime. I believe the struggle we have praying, when it seems like God isn’t there and no one is listening and nothing is happening, I believe someday that terrible feeling will seem like a distant foggy memory when we compare it to joy of seeing Jesus’ face. The pain and struggle of following after Jesus one agonizing step at a time when our doubt was pinching us like a nerve in our lower back but we never gave up, that will almost seem like it never happened when compared to the reality of hearing Jesus laugh.
The ridiculousness of trying to follow Jesus now will TOTALLY BE WORTH IT THEN, my friends…just as it was worth it for the Israelites when the walls of Jericho crumbled, just like it was worth it for the bleeding woman who simply wanted to touch the edge of Jesus’ robe, just like it was worth it for the widow who gave everything she had into the offering pate—two copper coins. It will all be worth it someday, my friends, and we will be glad that we made the choice to look foolish for Jesus’ sake…:)
1 Corinthians 1:18–25 NIV:
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”[a]
20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.