Fear Not: Jesus and the Fishermen

Fear Not: Jesus and the Fishermen

Fear Not: Jesus and the Fishermen.

“Jesus replied to Simon, ‘Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!’ And as soon as they landed on shore, they left everything and followed Jesus.” (Luke 5:10).

By the time we find Jesus with the fishermen, Jesus had been baptized by John, tempted by the devil, and rejected in His home town. He had cast out  a demon in the synagogue and healed Simon’s mother-in-law. He had set up camp in Capernaum, and scores of sick and demon-possessed people came to Him, and they were all healed. The crowds were astounded at His teaching, preaching and healing, and they tried to hang on to Him and keep Him from leaving. But now Jesus knew He had to start calling His inner circle, His group of disciples who would follow Him, live with Him, and grow into the faithful witnesses He would need to spread the Good News.

Because a large crowd had followed Jesus to the shore of the Sea of Galilee, He decided to borrow a boat that could be pushed out to sea little bit. He sat in the boat and kept preaching, the water amplifying his voice so everyone could hear Him. The owner of that boat, a fisherman named Simon, accompanied Jesus in the boat along with Simon’s brother Andrew. Simon figured someone sea-worthy was needed to guide and manage the boat in the water. After Jesus had finished speaking to the crowd, He turned to Simon and told him to take the boat deeper into the water and go fishing. Simon explained that they had worked the nets hard all night and were unsuccessful. But with a growing element of trust, Simon said that if He really wanted him to do that, he would.

It appears that Simon had already known Jesus. He had already watched Jesus heal his mother-in-law. He had seen Him heal many people in Capernaum, his home village. And he had already heard Jesus preach to the crowd at the seashore. So, Simon had witnessed Jesus at work and was familiar with what He could do. It’s understandable that Simon had already established a level of trust in Jesus. So here at the Sea, even though Simon was a professional and knew his way around fish, Simon trusted that Jesus knew what He was talking about. Simon obediently put his boat out further into deeper waters and throws the net into the Sea.

And here we find Jesus performing another miracle. After casting out their nets, Simon and his partners James and John brought in so many fish that they filled their two boats with their catch, to the point of potentially sinking the boats. The haul was so big that their nets were tearing. Simon saw what had happened and immediately fell to his knees and confessed that he is not worthy to be associated with Jesus. The Amplified Bible reports that Simon was “gripped with bewildering amazement – allied with terror.” In the Message, Simon said that he couldn’t handle the Lord’s holiness. “Depart from me. I am a sinful man,” Simon blurts out. He seems to be saying that Jesus is pure and great, and he is impure and insignificant in comparison. Peter confessed that he is a mere mortal next to the divine Jesus, and he is frightened because of that.

Jesus turned to Simon and told him not to be afraid. Have no fear. You needn’t fear my holiness or what I am able do, says Jesus. In fact, we’ll soon be fishing for people, catching them in our net of love and truth. Simon, Andrew, James and John were filled with awe and utterly astonished at what had happened. They dropped their nets on the shore, docked their boats, and started following Jesus, leaving everything behind. Their fear had disappeared.

Another Thought: Fear of Failure. “The uniqueness of the gospel is not that it gets us to do something entirely new but that it sends us back to what we’ve been doing all along, but this time with Jesus. God wants to be in command of our lives – our work lives, our family lives, our leisure lives. All of us experience failure. We fail at many things and in many ways. These failures are painful. Sometimes they leave us full of guilt, sometimes full of shame, sometimes overwhelmed with inadequacy. And not infrequently they leaves us determined to quit. We’ve proved sufficiently to ourselves and the people around us that we’re not good at love, we’re not good at parenting, we’re not good at the whole Christian thing. We draw back, live marginally, cautiously, safely. And then we hear Jesus say, “Go out into the deep and let down your nets.” We say, in plain truth, “But we’ve already done that, and nothing happened.” And Jesus says, “But you didn’t do it with me in the boat; you didn’t do it with me giving the commands.” Same boat. Same commands. Same nets. But now Jesus is in on it – and that makes all the difference.”  (Eugene Peterson, from a sermon).

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