Miracle 5:
The First Draught of Fishes

Introduction :      A young minister was being interviewed by a church board for the position of pastor. One old hard-working Irishman who was on the board looked at the young man sternly and asked, "Young man, did God send you here?"

   He replied, "Well, I don't know if God sent me here. I am here trying to find the will of God and find out if you would like me for your next pastor."

   The board member replied, "Young man, did God send you here?"

   The young minister was somewhat at a loss for words and came back again, "Well, I just stopped by to talk with the board --"

   The board member interrupted again and said, "Young man, did God send you here?"

   Finally he screwed up his courage and said, "Well, I guess God didn't send me here. I just stopped by to see about whether we could get together."

   The old board member leaned back in his seat and said, "That's good. The last four said that God had sent them, and we have had nothing but trouble with all four of them!"  

How does God prepare men and women for ministry? What transformation is required so that we become co- laborers with Him?  To those whom he calls to become fishers of men Christ demonstrates his power, and glory. That miraculous vision changes their life’s goal.

Tonight’s miracle demonstrates the authority of Christ in sovereignly calling men to Himself. This call claims the Lord’s right to direct,

 

I. OBSERVATION

A.       Passage Selected: Luke 5:1-11

“And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, 2And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. 3And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. 4Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. 5And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. 6And when they had this done, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. 7And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. 8When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. 9For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: 10And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. 11And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.”

 

B. Progression Stated: Biographical or Ideological

It is biographical because it centers on the person of Peter who needs a lesson on fishing.  This is ironic, because his profession was fishing.  It is his boat, the conversation is with him.  He is the central figure.

The basic idea of the miracle is “The Faith Needed for Fishing.”

C. Presentation Summarized:

1. Context

a. Remote

The relationship that Jesus has been developing with the disciples.  There are five callings or challenges to the disciples:

·          John 1:35-42 - the initial calling of some of the disciples.

·          Mark 1: and Matt 4: - the invitation to committed discipleship

·          Luke 5:1-11 - our passage

·          Mark 3, Matt: 10 - The commission to ministry.  He sends them out to the lost sheep of Israel

·          Matt 28: - Great commission

·          So the backdrop is the authority of Jesus.

·          Isa 9:1-2 says Galilee would be where Christ would demonstrate His Messianic authority.

Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. 2The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

b. Immediate

The crowds are pressing in, so they move out to the water for some space. After He had finished teaching, He tells Peter to take the boat out into deeper water because he wants to teach Peter a lesson.

2. Content

a. Faltering faith - Peter's impatience (Luke 5:5-7)
(1) Reaction - I don’t think so
(2) Response - Because you say so
(3) Reliance - I will do so

a.       Peter catches himself in the middle of a bad response and changes to the right response. What does Peter respond to?  The word of Jesus.  “Because you say so...”

b.       A man got saved who was a drunk and a complete waste.  His life was completely changed.  He was faithful to God’s house and telling others about Christ.  But he had one secret that only the preacher knew about: He could not read and write.  He did not tell others because he was ashamed. He noticed that alot of people had T-shirts with sayings on them.  He wanted one that would bring honor to Christ.  Because he could not read or write, he did not know what to get. He prayed about this.  One day he was walking down town and noticed a store that was closed with a big sign on it.  The Lord impressed to write down what the sign said.  He wrote the letters down.  He took the piece of paper to the T-shirt shop and had it placed on one to wear. When he wore the tee shirt, it was a big success in witnessing to folks. The shirt read:  UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT.

c.        One application for us is what will we do because He says so?

d.       Trench says that the best fishing in Galilee was before dawn. Also, Peter was a professional fisherman and Jesus was the son of a carpenter, so the initial response is understandable.

b. Fearful faith - Peter's impression (8-10a)

1.       There is a fearful astonishment on the part of Peter. He gets a glimpse of whom Jesus is and the result is recognition of his own sinfulness. This is the proper response to the revelation of God. Cf. Isa 6:1-5 “Woe is me…”

2.       There are many passages, which show the response of fear to the revelation of God.  Gen 15:1, Ex 20:20, Josh 8:1, Isa 41:10.  Matt 1:20, Luk 1:13, 30, 2:10, 5:10, 12:32, John 6:23, ... Here we see that when Jesus say “Fear not...” in verse 10, there is more to it than what we would first think. The claim inherent in Jesus’ statement is that He is God.

c. Fruitful faith - Peter's imperative  (10b)

1.          “You will be catchers of men.”  It literally means, “to take alive.”  The irony is that they have been catching live fish to put them to death.  Now they will be catching dead men to give them life.

2.          In that context, speaking to fishermen, Jesus said that they would be fishers of men.  Today, talking to a computer programmer, He might have said they would be programmers of men.  If they had been construction workers, He might have said they would be builders of men.

3.          There is a guarantee of results in the passage.  He did not say that they would try to catch men.

d. Following faith - The Disciples' induction (11)

1.       He left everything and followed Jesus.

2.       Late one evening a professor sat at his desk working on the next day's lectures.  He shuffled through the papers and mail placed there by his housekeeper.  He began to throw them in the wastebasket when one magazine--not even addressed to him but delivered to his office by mistake--caught his attention.  It fell open to an article titled "The Needs of the Congo Mission." The professor began reading it idly, but then he was consumed by these words: "The need is great here.  We have no one to work the northern province of Gabon in the central Congo.  And it is my prayer as I write this article that God will lay His hand on one--one on whom, already, the Master's eyes have been cast--that he or she shall be called to this place to help us."  The professor closed the magazine and wrote in his diary: "My search is over."  He gave himself to go to the Congo.  The professor's name was Albert Schweitzer.  That little article, hidden in a periodical intended for someone else, was placed by accident in Schweitzer's mailbox.  By chance his housekeeper put the magazine on the professor's desk.  By chance he noticed the title, which seemed to leap out at him.  Dr. Schweitzer became one of the great figures this century in a humanitarian work nearly unmatched in human history.  Chance?  No.  Providence.

II. INTERPRETATION

·          Jesus illustrates his authority over people in calling them to ministry.

·          Because of the privacy of the miracle (they had moved from the shore to deep water), we need to understand that this miracle has nothing to do with the multitudes.  This is a discipleship miracle and the discipleship miracles deal with the development of the ministry skills or character of the disciples.

·          Ps 8:6-8 says that God has authority over the sea creatures.

·          Christ ordains the results of evangelism.  Only by following Christ and having faith in his direction could the disciples become catchers of men.

III. APPLICATIONS

·          Does business failure disqualify you for ministry?  Who do we usually put on our board of elders?  Successful businessmen?  The disciples had fished all night and caught nothing.  That was a business failure.  Christ used it to teach them a lesson.  So, don’t be discouraged by failure. Learn from it.  And don’t disqualify others because of business failure (unless of course it was because of dishonesty or something.)

·          Don’t let human misunderstanding prevent obedience.  Peter “knew” that it would be useless to throw the net over at that time. 

·          Allow God to determine the course as well as the result of my life. I think our job is to obey God and do our best, but we need to leave the results up to Him.  If we try to take responsibility for the results, it will result in pride if there are good results or guilt if there are bad results.

·          Beware that the pride of my ability may cloud my dependence on Christ. Peter was a professional fisherman.  His initial reaction was that he knew more about fishing than Jesus.

·          The clearer the revelation of God, the better the realization of my sinfulness.  Ex 34, Isa 6, Jer 1, Dan 9

·          Revelation precedes service. It is one type of motivation.

·          Don’t ever lose the thrill at the grace of God who uses sinful men to accomplish His purposes.

·          Obedience to the word of God brings blessing to the worker of God.

·          2Co 12:9 - In our weakness, His strength is manifested.

·          Evangelism must be done where lost people are.  And old farmer fishing in a tub of water in his back yard was chided by his neighbor:  "Man, there ain't no fish in that tub.  Why are you wastin' your time like that?"  "Yeah," came the reply.  "I know there ain't no fish in here, but it's just so powerful convenient."  Many churches are engaged in "convenience evangelism," which is really very little evangelism at all