By Russ Wilkins
Dir. of Missions, Shiloh Baptist Assoc., Adamsville
Focal Passage: Luke 5:4-11, 27-32
As I am writing this article, we are knee deep in football. The national championship game has been played and there are some exciting NFL playoff games ahead this weekend.
By the time you receive this it will be time for the Super Bowl. I know many of you could not care less about football but just bear with me, I have a point.
One of the most exciting plays in football is when the quarterback throws a long pass downfield and hits the receiver in stride for a big play. In backyard football we simply called this play, “go deep!” I see some similarities in what is going on here in these Scriptures. Jesus is teaching those that will be His disciples to “go deep”.
We see three things. First, Jesus tells Simon to “go deep”, go fish in the deep waters. Jesus sends Simon out into the deep waters to fish so Simon could learn more about who Jesus really is. Simon is about to begin his discipleship journey by going “deep”.
Next, we see that Simon had fished all night and caught nothing but when he did what Jesus said, Simon experienced something he never had in the past. He caught so many fish during the daylight and in the deep, that the boat was in danger of sinking and he had to call in a second boat.
The third lesson in this experience is found in verse 10 and we will see another example from today’s reading shortly. In verse 10, Jesus said, “Simon, from now on, you will be catching men.”
This leads to the final point of this section. There was a response from Simon that is also a great example to each of us. Simon “fell at Jesus feet,” saying, ”Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!” He repented to Jesus. So now let’s put all of these together:
- Simon went into the deep waters, listening to what Jesus said. We would call listening to Jesus and obeying “Discipleship.”
- Simon did what Jesus called him to do and he experienced things he never would have “Experienced” otherwise. Obedience leads us to actions and we experience God’s plans.
- From Simon’s obedience, Jesus calls him to a purpose and that purpose is “Evangelism;” “From now on you will be catching men.”
- It all came full circle as Simon spoke to Jesus, he was prepared to repent and give his life to Him. Today, our response in this way is through “Prayer.”
Simon followed Jesus. Notice the first letter of the four bold words? DEEP! If we go deep with Discipleship, Experiences, Evangelism, and Prayer it will change our life and we can truly be considered a follower of Jesus. It will change not only our lives but also the people around us.
Simon was not the only one that followed. James and John followed. In verses 27-32, Levi also listened to Jesus, obeyed and therefore experienced God’s plan and invited people to come and meet Jesus.
Levi was someone that would have been rejected by the Jews, but Jesus invited Levi to “follow me” and his life was never the same. We know Levi better as Matthew, the disciple and writer of Matthew.
We are now beyond the point when most people have quit their New Year’s Resolution but do not let that stop you from going DEEP this year. I believe God is inviting us into a deeper relationship with Him and an opportunity to experience Him in very real ways.
Simon, James, John, and Levi all followed Jesus and it changed their life and their world.