Luke 5:1-11

“Are You Ready To Fish/”

February 10, 2019

            I love to fish.

            In our Scripture lesson for today, Peter, James, John, and others were doing what I love to do — they were fishing.  For them, however, it wasn’t a recreational activity — it was their job — so you can probably imagine their discouragement that day when they came back from a night of fishing — but had caught no fish!  That would be like having a place of business but selling nothing.  It would have been very discouraging.  Too many nights like that and it would be disastrous! As they were washing their nets, probably complaining about the fact that they had not caught any fish, they noticed a crowd gathering along the shore.  Before long there were so many people that there wasn’t room to stand. They had never seen so many people!

A man they had never seen before came up to them and asked if He could use their boat.  They figured it would be OK — the fishing was so bad that they surely weren’t going to need it that day.  They got in their boat — and — with this stranger — put out into the lake.  As they got just a bit off shore, the stranger got them to stop — and began teaching the crowds that had gathered on shore.  Peter and his partners had nothing to do but sit in their boat and listen. What marvelous things they heard! What a marvelous message this man brought! They had never heard such words — or heard them taught with such love and grace — and such authority.  It was almost as if God Himself were sitting in their boat — teaching them.  He spoke about God’s love. He spoke about repenting of your sins and living in God’s ways. He spoke about letting God change your life — and the life that God wants to bless you with.

“The kingdom of God is among you! Repent — and believe the gospel!”  He said.

            Who was He? Peter and his partners asked. Who can talk about God with such authority — and proclaim the kingdom of God with such authority? It was almost as if it was God Himself! Peter and his partners remembered stories of how the Messiah would come and bring God’s kingdom into the world. This couldn’t be the Messiah — could it? Or — could it?    They were really not sure.

            After He finished talking to the crowds, the stranger looked at them — and told them to go out and let down their nets for a catch. Peter began to argue that they had tried all night and had no luck at all — but then He thought about these words he had just heard — and said — “If you say so …” He wasn’t sure — but it was worth a try. Something told him that there was certainly something different about this man.They went farther out — and lowered their nets. When they did — there were fish! And not just some — but enough to tear their nets! They signaled for their partners to come and help — au t — this stranger — the Lord — said something very unusual — He said: “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.”

            What else could Peter do?

            When they got to the shore — Peter – James – and John left everything — even the remarkable catch of fish — and followed the Messiah.  They were no longer going to catch fish — but people.  They were going to tell everyone they saw about the marvelous truths Jesus — the Messiah — was saying — the marvelous things He was doing — and the marvelous ways He changed their lives. They were ready to fish — for people.

            Are you?

            Are you ready to fish  — for people?

            Are you ready to do what Peter– James — and John did — to leave everything — and follow Jesus — telling others what Jesus means to you — telling others how you have experienced Jesus — telling others how Jesus has changed your life?

            Are you eady to fish — for people?

            What does it take to be ready to fish? Well — if you’re fishing for fish — it takes having a rod and reel — some line that is good and strong — and lures or live bait.  It may take a combination of live and artificial bait so you can try one thing — and then another — until you find “what they’re biting” that day. But what it you’re fishing — for people?What does it take then?     We can look at Peter and see what it took for him to be ready to fish for people – an

can learn what we have to do.

            First — it takes availability.   When Jesus needed a boat to teach the people — Peter was available. When Jesus needs things done in the world — are you available?

            Are you available when Jesus needs people to go into the world and spread His Good News of salvation and new life? Or — do you always have excuses — and make excuses — and find other things to do than the things Jesus needs you to be doing?  To be ready to fish for people, you have to be available — for Christ. 

            Second — it takes obedience.             Peter wasn’t sure at all about this man or doing what He told him to do when Jesus told him to go out for a catch of fish.  In fact, he even began to argue with Him.  They had tried all night — they had caught nothing — but Jesus said to go out for a catch of fish — and they obeyed.  And they caught more fish than ever before. 

            Are you obedient to Jesus? When Jesus tells you to do something — do you do it? When Jesus calls you to go into the world with His message of salvation and new life — do you obey? Or – do you argue like Peter began to. “Lord — I can’t do that! It just won’t work! I just can’t do that type of thing!”

 The truth is  — you can do the things God calls you to do. The question is — will you? Will you be obedient — do what God calls you to do — spread His Good News into the world — or will you not?

            To be ready to fish for people — you have to be available for Christ — and you have to be obedient to Christ.

            Third — it takes repentance and making Jesus Lord of your life. When Peter was confronted with Jesus — and the claims Jesus wanted to make on his life — he said: “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” He realized that he was a sinner. He confessed that he was a sinner. He repented of his sin. He called Jesus “Lord”  — making Him Lord of his life.

            Have you done that? Have you realized that you are a sinner? Have you repented of your sins — and asked Jesus to forgive you? Have you made Jesus the Lord of your life? Or — have you refused to repent? Have you refused to even realize that you need Jesus? Have you refused to ask Jesus to forgive you? Have you refused to make Jesus the Lord of your life? Friends — we must repent of our sins — and make Jesus the Lord of our lives.

            To be ready to fish for people — you have to be available for Christ — you have to b obedient to Christ — and you have to repent of your sins and make Jesus the Lord of your life.

            Fourth — it takes going and doing.

            When Peter realized that Jesus was the Messiah — saw the difference Jesus made in his life and would continue to make in his life — and heard Jesus call him to follow Him — he did not hesitate — he left everything and followed.  And — he began to catch people — for Christ.

            Are you willing to go — and do — for Christ? Are you willing to do what God calls you to do — whatever it is — and wherever that may lead you? Are you willing to go and do for Christ? Or — do you give excuses? Are you not ready to go — and do — for Christ? To be ready to fish for people — it takes being available for Christ — it takes being obedient to Christ — it takes repentance and making Jesus Lord of your life — and it takes a commitment twill all strive to follow these tips on fishing for people, our church will soon be like Peter’s boat after his miraculous catch of fish — full to the brim.  Filled with excited people with whom we have shared God’s amazing love and plan for salvation.

            Friends — let’s be available for Christ — be obeisant to Christ — repent of our sins and make Christ Lord of our lives — go and do for Christ — so we can successfully fish for Christ. 

            Let’s all be ready to fish for Christ.  Amen