This Week’s Text: Luke 5:1-11
To begin, we are going to use another story from Luke 8:26-39 to help us dig deeper into the concept of finding faith in the deep water. This may be a familiar story to some of you. There’s this crazy, demon-possessed guy, and when Jesus encounters the man, the demons plead with Jesus not to be sent back to the abyss where they came from. Instead, they negotiate with Jesus to be sent into a herd of pigs. Well, Jesus had a hunch about what would happen, and so he allows the demons to go into the pigs, and then they race down the hill and into the Sea of Galilee. Deep bodies of water were seen as entrances to the abyss and so really the demons end up returned to the abyss!
So, what does this have to do with the story in Luke 5? Well, they are fishing on the same body of water. When we hear Jesus invite Peter to set out into the deep water to fish, we don’t think anything of it. But Jesus was not just inviting Peter on a simple fishing trip. This was an invitation to literally step outside of his comfort zone. This was an invitation to go fish above the entrance to the abyss.
What might be down there? What might happen if something goes wrong? This makes Peter’s response even more amazing. He calls Jesus ‘Master’ and the title ‘Master’ means that Peter recognizes in Jesus a power and an authority. It is on the authority of the Master that they would go fishing in the deep water, where things were uncomfortable.
We don’t know how deep the guys had gone to fish over night. However, if you are afraid of the deepest part of the water, are you going to go out there at night in the dark? Probably not. Which means, it is likely that the soon-to-be-disciples were fishing in the shallow water- where it was safe and comfortable. And how many fish did they catch? None. Even if they had been successful fishing in the safe, shallow water, is it likely that they would have caught as many fish as they do in the deep water with Jesus? Absolutely not. It says that with Jesus, they catch so many fish that the nets begin to break and the boats begin to sink. If this kind of catch were a regular occurrence, you would think they would upgrade their nets and boats! What they accomplish with Jesus so far outpaces what they are able to do on their own that the normal tricks and tools they utilize can’t even handle the results.
To be honest, this sermon in the series is a challenge for me because I am not much of a risk taker. But what I have come to understand is that it isn’t that I am afraid and risk takers are not afraid. It comes down to how we deal with the discomfort.
What I think this story is trying to show us is that part of how we deal with the discomfort is to recognize who it is that is calling us out of our comfort zone, and who it is that is guiding us while out there. Perhaps you have heard the phrase, “God never gives us more than we can handle.” That couldn’t be further from the truth. The heart of today’s story and God’s call upon our lives isn’t that God never gives us more than we can handle, but that in those moments that are more than we can handle, God is there with us and we end up finding faith in the deep water.