Luke 5:1-11 – 15 July 2012
Two weeks ago, we had the opportunity to meditate on Luke 4.
This morning, we shall consider God’s word from Luke 5:1-11.
To make it easier for you to follow, I have organized our meditation into 3 things that Jesus did in these 11 verses:
1) Jesus Preached to the Multitudes (v1-3)
2) Jesus spoke specially to Peter (v4-9)
3) Jesus called His first disciples (v10-11)
1) Jesus Preached to the Multitudes
In our last study on Luke 4, you will recall that Jesus went around Galilee preaching, teaching and healing the sick.
Luke 5:1 tells us that multitudes wanted to hear Him preach.
They have seen Jesus healing and caring for the sick.
They have heard him preach and teach in the synagogues and public places.
These people are starved for gospel truth.
After the prophet malachi, they were without a prophet for 400 years.
Now Jesus was bringing the pure word of God to them.
It was extraordinary teaching that they have never heard before.
And so, they wanted to hear Him preach.
Let me ask you this morning if you are interested to hear the word of God preached?
I will not assume that because you are seated in this room today, you are interested to hear the word of God preached.
Many of us have different reasons for being here.
Some of us are here because we want to meet some of our friends.
Some of us are here because our parents insist that we come.
Some of us are here just to satisfy our own conscience that we are in Church on a Sunday.
But I want to ask you whether you sincerely desire to hear the word of God.
Do you come with an earnest expectation that God will speak to you through His word that is preached?
I want to tell you that in every day and age, God has His chosen people.
And these people will be hungering for the word of God.
Are you one of these?
Now, notice the setting and backdrop from which Jesus preached.
He was not in a Church building.
He did not have a proper pulpit set up for him.
He was not in an air-conditioned room.
He used whatever He could find around Him and started preaching to the people.
In this case, one of the prized assets of His followers was used.
It was a fishing boat.
In today’s language, we call this creativity and “thinking-out-of-the-box”.
Jesus preached from a boat to the people who sat on the shore.
There are 2 lessons I want to point out here:
1) First, we are reminded that the core focus of the Church should be on the preaching of God’s word.
We don’t need an expensive Church building or nice premise to do God’s work.
It is a good to have; not a need to have.
We just need the simplest of arrangements to have the word preached.
Because the focus is on preaching the word and not how beautiful or comfortable the building is.
Yes, it is important that the environment should be comfortable enough so that there is no distraction.
I believe Jesus was preaching early in the morning because the fishermen just finished their jobs.
It’s probably also not too hot at that time.
For most of the people, it’s probably the part of the day where they are most alert because they just woke up.
It is _____ am now.
I trust that you are all awake and listening carefully now.
So, with the simplest means that facilitate concentration and listening, the word of God can be ministered.
As we continue our ministry as a Church, this is something we should always keep in mind.
And may God continue to allow us to use ACSi for our weekly meetings on Sunday.
2) The second lesson I want to point out here is that believers’ prized assets can be used for God’s work.
God has blessed us with many possessions while we are on earth.
You need to remember that these things don’t belong to you.
You are just the custodian for a period of time.
Whenever you are able, you should be willing and ready to let these assets be used by God.
Look at Peter, his boat is probably the most expensive asset he has as a fisherman.
Yet, he was willing to let God used it for His glory.
And the effect of his willingness was tremendous, not just on the people but also Peter himself.
We are reminded that the bible tells us in Prov 11:25 that ‘he who waters, will himself be watered’.
The scriptures are full of examples of believers using their assets for God’s work.
Philemon had his home used by the Church for their meetings.
Joseph of Arimathea used his new tomb for the burial of Jesus.
They all experienced different blessings when they were unselfish in letting their assets be used for God’s work.
Do you possess any assets that can be used for the glory of God?
I may have told you this before – In 2008, I met someone whose Church meets every Sunday on a boat.
One of their members owns the boat (which is a floating restaurant that has function rooms).
And he let their Church use it for worship on Sunday.
It’s so encouraging to hear that isn’t it?
For some people, their assets are their gifts and talents.
I want to tell you that even your gifts and talents belong to God.
He can withdraw them from you any moment He wants to.
Are you using your gifts and talents appropriately for the glory of God?
I want to encourage you to use your assets and your gifts & talents to serve God.
It is an honour to serve the King of heaven.
This service comes with comfort, satisfaction and reward too!
The reward may or may not be on this earth.
But it will certainly be in glory in heaven.
So I encourage you to examine yourself as to how you are serving God.
Everyone is able to serve God with gifts and talents that are specific to him/her.
If you don’t use your gifts & talents, beware that they may be taken away from you.
May God speak to each of us today.
2) The 2nd thing that Jesus did in these 11 verses was that “He spoke specially to Peter”
After Jesus preached, He gave a specific instruction to Peter.
He asked him to launch his net to the other side of his boat.
At that time, Peter was already more or less done with his job for the day/or for the night.
Hence, this was something that he was not very interested to do.
And so he responded to Jesus with his professional advice as a fisherman.
He said, “Master, we have toiled all the night and have taken nothing.”
What he is effective saying is this: “there are good days and there are bad days; it’s just a bad day for fishing.”
But he was also polite to add “Yet at Your word I will let down the net.”
In other words, “But if you say do, I am happy to listen to your advice and do what you say.”
Does that sound familiar?
Don’t we do the same often?
And this is something that often happens especially to people with great experiences.
We’ve seen so much, we like to give our opinion about things.
Sometimes, we even end up stifling the initiatives and zealousness of some people.
Now, I am not saying that experience is not important.
But it is important that we realize that, very often, faith defies experience.
Look at what happened to Peter.
Thankfully, he was obedient to Jesus in spite of what his professional instincts tell him.
He said, “Yet at Your word I will let down the net”.
And as he did it, he could not believe what was happening.
He had seen Jesus’ miracles before.
He had seen Him cast out demons.
He had seen Him heal, even his mother-in-law in Luke 4.
All these experiences seemed to have made him very aligned to Jesus.
But this special miracle that defied his professional instinct had a tremendous impact on Peter.
Peter fell at the feet of Jesus and confessed that he was a sinful man.
He was sorry for even offering his advice to Jesus from his professional instincts.
He was suddenly mindful that he was speaking with God Himself and not just a prophet or preacher.
He was suddenly humbled to the realization that God knows all the sinful thoughts that were going through his mind.
And he immediately confessed his sins and asked for Jesus’ forgiveness.
Let me ask you a question.
Was Peter saved only at this point in time?
Or was this a special revival that took place in him after being with Jesus for a while?
I want to suggest to you that we can leave it to the theologians to argue that out.
I don’t think it is important for us to know the answer.
The important thing to know is that this incident had a tremendous impact on Peter’s life.
It literally changed his life altogether.
He gave up his job as a fisherman and followed Jesus totally.
Now, do not at any moment think that this is an easy thing to do.
He did not consult his wife.
He did not think about what would happen to his family.
He did not even think about the fact that he could have sold all those fishes and become a very rich man.
We are just told that Peter dropped everything and followed Jesus.
The Holy Spirit really worked in his heart that day.
The evidence is clear that he was saved.
It does not matter when, but we are sure that he was saved and the Holy Spirit was working mightily in him.
Now, some of you may have heard the gospel many times.
Perhaps we can call some of you “adherents” to the Christian faith.
If you are asked to fill up a questionnaire and there’s a question that asked what your religion is, you will write “Christianity”.
But for whatever reason, you have not committed yourself to Jesus to the extent that you are prepared to get baptized.
And one day, something happened in your life.
It could be an incident where you incurred great losses.
It could be an incident where you made great gains.
It could just be the simple reading or hearing of the word of God which weighed heavily on your heart.
There was a group of students who studied at Oxford University in the 17th century.
They were doing their routine spiritual exercises of singing hymns and methodically studying the word of God.
And God chose to work in their hearts that day.
Church history recorded that they felt their hearts “strangely warmed”.
Life was never the same again for these students.
They were the founders of the Methodist movement.
This school that we are using is an indirect effect of that first Methodist movement.
Praise God for how he worked in their hearts.
I do not know when the day will be for you that God the Holy Spirit will move in you.
I certainly hope it will be earlier not later.
I hope he will speak to you today.
I hope He will convict you the way He spoke to Peter.
And remember, “Today if you will hear the voice of God, do not harden not your hearts, as in the rebellion.”
May God speak to you quickly.
3) Now, the 3rd thing that Jesus did in these 11 verses is that “Jesus called His first disciples”
We read in this passage that Jesus called His first disciples.
He called Peter & Andrew.
He also called James and John.
All of them were fishermen.
These are what we call blue-collared workers today.
And these blue-collared workers were the first Apostles.
They did not attend any bible colleges.
They were not bankers or lawyers.
I don’t even know whether they know how to read and write.
But through the teaching of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, these men turned the world upside down – Acts 17:6.
We have many letters in the new testament that were written by Peter, James and John.
We read of Peter (in the book of Acts) addressing a big crowd when he was not even trained in public speaking.
How was this possible?
It is the work of the Holy Spirit.
Yes, it is good to go to Bible College.
Yes, it is good to have some formal and systematic training in gospel work.
But remember that we are dealing with spiritual things.
And the best teacher of such things is the Holy Spirit Himself.
Sometimes, we are tempted to think that some people cannot understand that gospel because they are not educated.
Yes, they may be disadvantaged because they are poor in their language ability.
But it does not mean that a man will understand the gospel simply because he is learned.
Why? Because 1 Cor 2:14 reminds us that these things are spiritually discerned.
It is not because anyone is smarter.
It is because the Holy Spirit was merciful to open the eyes of some, so that they see and appreciate spiritual things.
Now, having said all that, I must add that Jesus also called many other “types” of people to be his disciples.
There was Matthew who was a tax collector.
There was, of course, the Apostle Paul – a man said to have the equivalent of 2 PHDs today.
The Apostles were people of different backgrounds, different experiences and skills.
Yet, they were all united by the Holy Spirit.
Have you ever wondered how Matthew (a tax collector) would have submitted himself to the leadership of Peter (a fisherman)?
How did they manage to sit together, walk together, eat together and work together?
They were all different and had different levels of abilities.
There were even incidents recorded in the Bible where Paul could not agree with Peter on certain things (Gal 2:11).
But overall, we see a group of diversified people united by the Holy Spirit.
The same is true in the Church of God.
There will be those who are professionals – lawyers, bankers, architects, doctors, professors, etc.
There will also be those who are skilled workers – fitters, contractors, sportsmen, etc.
There should be people from every strata of society in a Church.
It is not healthy to have a Church consisting only of professionals or scholars.
It is unhealthy because there is a potential tendency for them to “limit” the gospel only to that strata of society.
We thank God that in our Church we have believers from every walk of life.
Let this diversity remind us that our God is a God of grace.
He is able to save the greatest scholar and even the most illiterate.
Jesus called His disciples.
The choice is His, not ours.
My God call many into His kingdom and add many from all walks of life into our Church.
Let us recap the main points of our meditation today.
1) Firstly, Jesus preached to the multitudes
The multitudes hungered for the word of God. Do you hunger for the word of God?
The means used to enable the preaching were simple because the focus was on the preaching.
The means used for the preaching were contributed by His disciples.
What can you contribute to God’s work today?
2) Secondly, Jesus spoke specially to Peter
The experience awakened Peter totally.
I hope the Spirit of God will do the same awakening work in you today.
3) Finally, Jesus called His disciples.
May Jesus call you to be his disciple today.
Let us sing a hymn in closing.