Jesus Loves to Delegate – Fishing for His Delegates

Jesus Loves to Delegate – Fishing for His Delegates

Jesus Loves to Delegate: Fishing for His Delegates.

“God could, if He chose, repair our bodies miraculously without food, or give us food without the aid of framers, bakers and butchers; or knowledge without the aid of learned teachers; or convert the heathen without missionaries. Instead, God allows soils and weather and animals and the muscles, minds and will of humanity to cooperate in the exercise of His will. For He seems to do nothing of Himself which He can possibly delegate to His creatures. He commands us to do slowly and blunderingly what he could do perfectly and in the twinkling of an eye. He allows us to neglect what He would have us do, He allows us to fail. Enabling finite free wills to co-exist with Omnipotence seems to involve at every moment almost a sort of divine abdication.”  (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity).

I believe in an almighty God who shares His power. I believe in a Ruler of the universe who happily delegates authority. I believe in an omnipotent Lord who is perfectly willing to share the workload. I believe in a God who delights in welcoming His followers to participate in His miracles. The all-powerful God of the Bible has never wanted to hoard power, He has never developed an insatiable thirst for keeping all the authority to Himself.

The Almighty sharing power… the Sovereign Ruler distributing authority… the unthinkably strong and independent Lord sharing the workload. What does this tell us about the character of our God? The humility of God is astounding, and His wisdom is matchless. Only God could understand how important it is to strengthen and empower the powerless likes us mere mortals. God knows that  delegating to us gives us a vote of His confidence in our capabilities; it enables us to develop our giftedness and grow in our abilities; it gives us a stake in His work in the world; it enables us to participate with Him in His miraculous care of His world; it reveals to us that He trusts us to do His assignments; it provides a tangible way for us to experience the satisfaction of accomplishing great things for Him and others; it provides joyful and challenging things to do that is meaningful; it allows us to have part ownership in His plans and actions. God’s plan of delegating authority and sharing His power is the best possible plan for us to mature in the power and authority of Christ.

Like Father, like Son, since Jesus was a perfect delegator Himself. We observe all through the gospels that Jesus excelled in delegation, and He was happy to enjoy the same leadership style as the Father. For all the reasons listed above, Jesus loved to ask his followers to participate in His work and ministry. He enabled His disciples to share responsibilities and take some ownership of God’s mission to extend His Kingdom. If He wasn’t sending them out to heal, preach and cast out demons, He was asking the friends of Lazarus to roll way the stone of his grave. If He wasn’t telling Peter to go fishing for the Temple tax with his fishing pole, He was asking those nearby the risen Lazarus to unbind his grave clothes. Sometimes Jesus would assign the disciples the task of finding some lunch in a nearby village, while another time it appears He wanted his disciples to do the work of multiplying the fish and bread out in the middle of nowhere. Jesus asked the servants at the Cana wedding to fill up all those water jars, while another time He politely asked a couple of disciples to “go fetch” the donkey for His triumphant ride into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. He seemed to especially enjoy giving orders to His fishermen friends, directing them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat or go out deeper into the water. Jesus loved to share the workload with His followers, for their betterment, for the sense of partnership, and for whatever needed to be done.

“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).

A Delegate (noun) = A person who has been assigned a duty or responsibility and given the power and authority to act on behalf of someone; a representative; an agent to whom something was delegated.

By the time we find Jesus with the fishermen, Jesus had been baptized by John, tempted by the devil, and rejected in His hometown. 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. Jesus had His eyes peeled for those faithful few to whom He could delegate as His representatives.

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 started delegating to him in particular. Jesus 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, enabling others to participate. 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.

“Watching as they were casting their nets into the water, Jesus called out to them and said, ‘Come after me, follow me, and I will transform you into men who catch people for God.’ Immediately they dropped their nets and left everything behind to follow Jesus. A little farther up the shore He saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too. They immediately followed Him, leaving the boat and their father behind.”  (Matthew 4:18-20).

Here we have the ultimate divine invitation, the defining moment of every disciple of God. In those days, when a well-established rabbi chose someone to be a student of his, he would approach the man and simply say, “Come after me.” And this has become the universal call to all people. In this scene, Jesus is on the shore of Lake Galilee, watching two sets of fishermen in particular as they cast their fishing nets into the water. These two pairs of brothers, Simon and Andrew, and then James and John, were called by Jesus to come after Him, to follow Him, and they didn’t think twice. Their response was immediate, and their answer was yes. Because Jesus had earlier been preaching all around that area, it was likely that they both were well aware of who Jesus was and what He taught.  Jesus’ call to them was two-fold: First, follow after Jesus; second, learn how to catch people for God just like they were catching fish for people. His call to these two brothers is echoed to each and every person on earth… Come after Me, Jesus says. Follow me. And I will turn you into expert fisherman, for people. Follow me, He says, I will delegate to you the holy responsibility of helping me to spread My Kingdom!

Another Thought“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 leave 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).

Once Jesus has delegated His power and authority to His followers, they turn from incompetent fishermen to those with Kingdom competence.