This week’s wonderful guest devotion is based on Luke 5:1-11, the Gospel lesson for Sunday, June 26. It is written by an LCMS missionary serving in Central Asia. For the protection of the worker and worker’s family and the work they do, the person’s name will not be released. However, please pray for this worker and their family as they serve. The Lord certainly knows for whom you pray!
–By: an LCMS missionary serving in Central Asia
Because You Say So …
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 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.” (Luke 5:4-5)
Some people are good at fishing. I’m not! When my children were little I took them fishing because, you know, it’s a good daddy thing to do. Wisely, I packed snacks! Now ten years later, they still remember those snacks as the highlight of the trips. Having never caught anything larger than the palm of our hands, I know I lack knowledge or skill or patience or all of the above.
Simon Peter, however, was good at fishing. He earned his livelihood with his boat and nets. One day when he and his crew were washing those nets, Jesus needed a floating pulpit to teach the masses crowding his lakeside discourse. Peter and company obliged and in return, they got front row seats for what they thought was the main event. Little did they know, the real action was yet to come.
When he (Jesus) had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.”
Stop right there. Can you relate to hard work resulting in empty hands? Peter is certainly thinkin’ of his stinkin’ fish, but allow me the liberty of a spiritual application. A billion Muslims including most of my neighbors are fasting this month of Ramadan, striving to fill their account in heaven with enough good to outbalance their sins. This stinks too because, as Isaiah tells us, “all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment.” (64:4) Their hard work counts for nothing!
Lest we look down our proverbial long noses at our Muslim neighbors, let’s take the log out of our own eyes, shall we? Have you tried to fill the emptiness in your life with things money can buy – the lusts of the eyes? Or with liquor or porn or food or _____ (you name it) – the lusts of the flesh? Or with striving to accomplish and impress – the boastful pride of life? John declares, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” When the new car wears out or the liquor wears off or the accomplishments wear thin, we realize we’re just as empty as ever. Our gods aren’t named Allah, but they leave us at the same place! Empty.
Back to Peter. Jesus has come onto Peter’s lake in Peter’s boat and now he wants to tell Peter what to do with his nets. In pride, he could have said, “Jesus, you’re a good teacher, but I’m the fisherman here. I know these waters, and the fish just aren’t there. You stick to the spiritual stuff, and I’ll run my own business.” Been there, done that? Empty!
Instead, humbly recognizing Jesus’ authority, he replies in faith, “But because you say so, I will let down my nets.”
The nets went down empty but came back full, so full that they began to tear! This is amazing grace!
What a great analogy to another gift of grace, our baptism. The nets of our lives go under the water empty of anything to give us standing before God, but emerge filled with Christ’s righteousness. Or as I explain to my Muslim friends, in baptism the debit side of my heavenly ledger is completely forgiven, and Jesus’ righteousness is deposited for me on the credit side. One side “paid in full”; the other side newly “full”!
Back to Peter. Overwhelmed with grace and awestruck at the realization of Who was before him, he exclaims, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”
To many, this would seem a fitting end to the story. Peter finally realized himself to be a sinner and Jesus as Lord. But Jesus wasn’t done. “Don’t be afraid,” he continued, “from now on you will catch men.” Jesus has a new call on Peter’s life. Peter leaves everything behind and follows Jesus.
Have you been trying to run the business of your own life? Leave that boat and gear behind. Jesus calls us to follow Him. That following takes us out of the comfort zone of our own little lakes and into the world to fish for men and women. We may or may not be good at it. We may feel we lack knowledge or skill or patience or all of the above. But like Peter, in faith we reply, “because you say so, I will let down the nets!”
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, I have bowed before man-made gods: the lusts of my eyes, the lusts of my flesh and my boastful pride of life. I have not left everything to follow you. In your mercy, forgive my sin for the sake of Jesus my Savior. Renew a right spirit within me, that motivated by your grace, I would let down my nets, trusting in the power of your Word to fill them with people from all nations, even from the Muslim world; though Jesus Christ, Your Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
- Pray for the worker who wrote this post.
- Pray that many people would be “caught” with the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
- Read last week’s devotion here.