He’s sitting in a boat teaching. There is a massive crowd standing before Him with one particular thing in common. Luke 5:1 reads, “The multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God.”
This week as we look at “The Call to Discipleship,” we will concentrate on the events of this day in history. The lessons are many.
We could discuss if we really believe that the Word alone is powerful enough to draw men and women, or, if instead, we need to hide it behind a shiny exterior of excitement and entertainment. We could examine the prominence the Word has in our lives both privately and corporately.
I like Luke 5:4 because it typifies how Jesus gives directions with no uncertainty. Life is challenging. It seems that as soon as we start to get a handle on living we look back and see the years that were wasted in aimless pursuits because we lacked direction. But His directions are sure and the outcome of following His commands is already determined. “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” Luke 5:4
Simon, in verse five, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing”, speaks for many of us. Our failures and disappointments are so prevalent in our minds that instantly we think of what we can’t do. Like Simon we say we’ve already done our best and our best time for success has passed us by. And if it were all on us to succeed, that’s where the story would end.
But Simon took Him at His word and acted. Simon was directed to go back out into the same waters where he had just experienced defeat. He was not given a special net or inside secrets on catching fish. The only difference in what Simon took to his task was the simple instruction of Jesus.
Luke is writing a history of how a common man can do uncommon things simply by trusting Jesus and taking Him at His word. Amid all of the noise of life we often forget this central truth. We look at ourselves and we see so many instances of failure. We know our limitations and this keeps us from doing more. But today, heaven is saying, “Launch out into the deep.”
Luke writes about the huge haul of fish Simon and his companions caught that day. Overwhelmed by this clear encounter with Divinity, Simon from the depths of his soul cries out, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” Luke 5:8
Humility comes from facing divinity. Daniel experienced this as recorded in Daniel 10:8, “for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.” When the veil is pulled aside and divinity flashes through, our pride is vanquished.
In what happened next that, Jesus is speaking not only to Simon but to all of us.
“And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” Luke 5 10.
This is not merely instructions – this is a purpose for our lives. Being a disciple is more than a label; it is the consuming mission of our lives. Jesus gives us a reason for being. Life is about more than building bigger barns. It is about “catching men” for the Kingdom.
Now let’s go back to the beach at Lake Gennesaret. What will Simon and his companions do with this fresh encounter with Jesus? Will they bask in the miracle and add this to their treasures of great memories? Will they use this to find new status in their community or perhaps take advantage of this windfall to secure their futures?
Luke tells us the answer in one sentence. So insightful (sometimes frightful) these last words are. They encapsulate our part in the equation of discipleship.
“So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.” Luke 5:11
Lord, make us willing to be willing.
Here are a few Hit the Mark questions for this week’s lesson discussion:
- What does the word disciple mean to you?
- What, if any, is the difference between a disciple and a church member?
- What, if any, is the difference between a disciple and a convert?
- What does it mean to “catch men?”
- Are all disciples called to the same mission to “catch men?” Why yes or no?
- Is the following statement True, Mostly True, Somewhat True or Not True: As long as I at least contribute financially to soul winning, I am fulfilling my mission in life. Explain your answer.
We close this week with one short sentence from Jesus. Let’s think about the wonderful promise contained in these words:
“For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 16:25
Until next week, let’s all continue to Hit the Mark in Sabbath School!