What is it like go deeper with Jesus? Do we really understand what it means when He calls us to go deeper still? Does God have a purpose for me?
I’ll Show You, Jesus!
It had been a long night for Simon, James and John. They had caught absolutely nothing. Exhausted they were ready to go home to get some rest. Before they did, though, they had to complete the chore of washing out their nets.
Into the picture steps Jesus followed by a throng of people. Jesus asks Simon to push the boat Simon owned out into the water so He could sit and teach from there.
When Jesus finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper and let down your nets to catch some fish.”1
I’m sure Simon Peter just shook his head like Jesus was crazy. They had caught nothing and here Jesus was asking them to get their nets dirty again to fish during the day, which didn’t make sense.
Still Simon said, “If you say so.” I think it was probably said more like, “OK, we’ll show You, Jesus! You don’t know what You’re talking about.”
Ever Been There?
Ever been there? Has Jesus ever asked you to do something you’ve tried before and failed at? I’ve been there more times than I can count. Most of the time if my logic says this won’t work, I don’t attempt it. I simply tell myself I must have heard wrong and push it aside.
Or I do what I feel He’s asking me to do and it fails. It’s a meeting where only a handful show up. I’m glad to minister, but inside I’m wishing there were more people. I know He told me what to say, but really, Jesus, this is a small crowd.
Maybe I launch into a business venture believing God has laid it on my heart and instead of making money, it costs me money.
I’m out in the deep water where He called me, but where is Jesus?
What Do You Expect?
The fishermen weren’t really expecting any results. They were dumbstruck when the nets came up so full of fish they began to tear. Both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking!2
Then, Jesus used the fishing lesson to teach an even more meaningful truth. This wasn’t about catching fish, though that was their job. They understood fish. Now they were about to understand their purpose for being here on the earth in the first place.
Jesus explained, “From now on you’ll be fishing for people.” And as soon as they landed, Simon Peter, James and John left everything and followed Jesus.3
They had purpose, but the story doesn’t end here.
What Now, Jesus?
After Jesus’ death and resurrection, Peter not knowing what else to do goes back to fishing. Again he, James, John and several of the other disciples fish all night and catch nothing.
In the morning they see a guy standing on the beach. He hollers to them, “Hey Guys, catch any fish?” When they dejectedly admit they haven’t, He says, “Throw your nets on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” Again they got an overload of fish.4
Only then do they realize it is Jesus. When they get to the shore, he’s cooking a breakfast of fish for them, and He asks them to bring some of their fish to add to the breakfast.
Do You Love Me?
He asked Peter a question, “Do you love Me more than these?”5
Stop. Hold on. More than what? They’d just caught a bumper load of fish. They’d just eaten fish for breakfast. Was He asking Peter if he loved Him more than the miracle He had just provided?
As fishermen they made their living catching and selling fish. His first miracle may have made it possible for the men to leave their businesses knowing their families were provided for.
With money from this repeat miracle they were now once again set financially. Could Jesus have been asking Peter if he loved Him more than merely what Jesus could give him?
Do You Love Me More Than Money?
Peter answers, “Yes.” He is letting Him know Jesus is more important that just the provision or money He provides. Jesus tells him to feed His lambs. Peter would know He was talking about little ones. “They don’t eat much,” Peter might be thinking. I can afford it now.
Jesus asks again, “Do you love Me?” When Peter answers, “Yes,” Jesus steps things up a notch. He says, “Then take care of my sheep.”5 This is a bigger order of responsibility. Sheep are adults. Still, it’s not that big of a chore. It won’t take that much time.
By the third time Jesus asks Peter the question he is hurt, but he answers. “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love You.”
Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.”5 He’s not asking just for Peter to take care of them, but to make sure they have the food they need. But Jesus isn’t talking about physical food now, is He?
What Is Jesus Asking?
Peter becomes the leader of the Jerusalem Church. Jesus is commissioning him to greater responsibility. He is calling him to come deeper still into the ocean of humanity.
Being called out into the deep is not just sitting and pondering the great vastness of the universe. It’s being called to the care and feeding of those Jesus has entrusted to us.
First, though, we must get ourselves ready for that deeper still assignment. We must be physically, emotionally and spiritually ready for our calling. If we aren’t fit in all areas, it’s not going to work to go out in the deep. We might sink rather than swim.
What is He calling you to do in order to accept the call to come deeper still?
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1Luke 5: 4 NLT
2Luke 5:7 NLT
3Luke 5:10-11 NLT
4John 21:4-6 NLT
5John 21:15-17 NLT