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Is Jesus In Your Boat?

By Reverend Michael Farias


Albert Einstein is broadly credited with declaring, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”


The crowds were pressing around Jesus to hear him speak the Word of God as he stood by Lake Gennesaret.  The Bible tells us that he saw two boats standing by the lake, but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets (Luke 5:2).


Luke 5:3  Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat.


There were two boats.  Jesus made a choice when he got into Simon’s boat.  We know that the owners of the other boat were James and John. We don’t know why Jesus chose to get into Simon’s boat, but he did.  Simon and Jesus did not know each other. As far as we can tell they were strangers, but that was about to change.


Jesus did not commandeer Simon’s boat to cause Simon more work, but he asked Simon to put out a little from the land so he could use it as a platform to teach the multitudes.  Simon had a choice; he could have said no, I won’t do it, use the other boat. After all, his work-day was over, the nets were being washed and put away for the day, or perhaps even for the season. Nevertheless, Simon obliged.


Have you let Jesus in your boat, or have you said no?  Is it too much like work, or is it an act of worship?


Luke 5:4  When He (Jesus) had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”


Now, things are beginning to get difficult.  Now, this is beginning to resemble work.  At the conclusion of His speech, Jesus tells Simon to launch out into the deep for a catch of fish.  This seems like a bad idea to Simon, as the next verse tells us.


There are times in our ministry and calling when it seems as if what we are doing is working a bad idea.  We have been hard at it, with little to show for all the effort.


Luke 5:5  But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.”


Toil is no fun.  It is hard work.  It does, however, become rewarding when we see results from our toil. The opposite is true when there are no results.  Simon tells the Lord that they have been toiling all night and have caught nothing.  He clearly does not want to get the freshly cleaned nets out and drop them back into the water.  He was probably hungry, tired, and discouraged, but because the Master requested it, Simon let down a net. 


When we are tired from the work of the ministry, hungry for results, and discouraged because we have pulled in a great big zero, the last thing we want to do is to keep working at it.  We don’t want to keep dropping our nets into an empty abyss.  It seems crazy.  It is the definition of insanity, but we need to be reminded who we have let in our boat.


It’s a subtle discrepancy in Simon’s response, but it’s there.  Jesus said to “let down the nets.” Yet Simon only let down one net. 


Let’s not make the mistake that Simon made by underestimating who is in our boat.  Let’s keep toiling, and keep expecting that success will come.  Let’s not be unprepared for the big catch that is ahead.  Let down your nets, one more time. It may seem like insanity, but it’s not, it’s faith.


Luke 5:6  And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. 


One net wasn’t enough.  The result Simon was expecting was another empty net, another great big zero, another waste of time, resources and effort, but this time it was different.  It was such a big catch that their net was breaking under the load.  It was unexpected, and Simon was unprepared.  He was in danger of losing the load because of his lack of preparedness.  He should have dropped all the nets, not just one.


Oh yeah, did you remember that there was another boat?  The one that Jesus didn’t choose?  Well, they get in on the action too. 


Luke 5:7  So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.


There was such a big catch that their partners came over to help.  Both boats were filled beyond capacity.  Both fishing parties experienced success and fulfillment. Everybody on the team took home the trophy. 


The result was not just an economic windfall, nor the sense of accomplishment, although those benefits are surely welcomed; the real benefit was the revelation of who it was in the boat.


Luke 5:8  When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”


The work became worship; that’s the real miracle in this story.  The unexpected happened because Jesus was in the boat.

Luke 5:10 And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.”


Do not tire of your toiling, and do not fail to let Jesus into your boat, because that toiling is worship, and the reward is greater than you can imagine.