Southwest UMC

Dreaming in the Deep Water, Week 4: Reality and Dreams

This Week’s Text: Luke 5:1-11

At its core, this sermon series has been about praying and listening to God, but then also stepping out in faith. However, part of getting to that point has been about encountering obstacles.

In week one, the barrier was not knowing enough about Jesus. In week two, the barrier was to do something with this knowledge of Jesus. These are challenges we find in the journey of faith. If this is all really true, then I guess I have to do something about it. Maybe it means taking a small step- a tangible thing that breaks through the barrier between knowledge and action, allowing ourselves to make the transition from Jesus being a teacher to a Master.

We left off at the moment when the nets are full of fish to the point of breaking and the boats are struggling to stay afloat. Seeing a miracle like this created a change in Peter’s heart and mind, and he comes to the realization that Jesus is more than just someone with authority. But I don’t think it is just the miracle. What does he say? “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”

There is something about this encounter that not only opens Peter’s eyes to who Jesus really is, but he sees himself truly for the first time. And here we encounter our third barrier- ourselves. Peter needed to see that he was a sinful man. In coming to terms with the honesty and reality of our human condition- our frailty, our finiteness, our limits, and ultimately our sinfulness- we realize that God doesn’t call us to step out in faith based on who we are in the eyes of the world or what we can do for God.

If we return to the text, we can look and see that Jesus never even really asked these guys to be their disciples. There really isn’t a need to ask the question. Perhaps the best sign of this is that it says right then and there they left everything on the seashore and followed him. They left the miraculous catch on the shore too!

They are fishermen! This is literally a dream come true for fishermen. They don’t ask Jesus for twenty-four hours to try and sell the catch. They let someone else take it to the market and get the glory and the credit and the income for a catch like no one else has ever had. You see, that’s the real “danger” of opening ourselves up to Jesus- if we open ourselves up to Jesus we might experience the kind of change that sets aside every dream and goal and priority we have ever valued or worked toward. But for these guys, there is no other option.

So, as we draw this series to a close, I want to close by asking us all to consider the possibility that when we open ourselves up to Jesus, it has the power and possibility to change our sense of identity, to change our perspective and priorities, and it may even call us to leave behind everything we have valued and worked for. It may not, but to truly dream in the deep water, we have to be open to that possibility, knowing that if it ever is the case, Jesus is there with us and he is the one calling.