The Source of All Good Things (Luke 5: 1-11)
God is the source of all good things! That’s one of the lessons that I learn from this scripture passage, Luke 5. There are other lessons that could be learned. We could talk about what Jesus meant when he told the disciples that they would be fishing for people. We could talk about what fishing meant in general to the people of 1st C. Galilee. We could talk about why veteran fishermen would waste any time at all listening to some young rookie offering fishing advice.
But I like to focus on the catch itself… the nets that were once empty, that God has made full. It’s not the first time God’s Spirit has been at work in this gospel. We saw it in Mary, the mother of Jesus, and in Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, whose wombs were made full by the power of the Holy Spirit. This pattern is what helps us understand the meaning of the miracle. What once was empty is now made full by the power of God’s Holy Spirit!
For Simon Peter, and the other disciples, it’s the gradual realization that it is GOD who is the source of all good things, not the sun, not the rain, not the sea, not the boat, not the hands on the boat, or anything else. God alone is the source! And once Simon Peter and the others grasp that, then they also understand that Jesus is the one in whom all of goodness of God, the source of all good things, dwells.
One would think that that realization would make their lives richer. Unfortunately for Simon Peter, his reaction was just the opposite. He was tormented by his own shame. His life was empty, and the sudden realization of God’s overwhelming goodness highlighted his emptiness.
How did Jesus respond? By drawing him in closer… by suggesting to him that despite whatever unworthiness he felt, he was still of value to God. That should be comforting to all of us.
No matter who we are, what we are, where we’ve been, or what we’ve done, we are still of tremendous value to God.
Jesus wants us to come along beside him, that we might free others to be whomever it is that God created us to be.
When our lives feel empty, when we feel like we’re a shell of who we’re supposed to be, send the boat out again. For in God’s presence, what once was lost now is found. What once was blind now can see.
What once was empty, now is made full!
Thanks be to God. Amen!
5 Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, 2 he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” 11 When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.
Byron is an avid hiker with an absolute love for all things nature. He’s at his greatest moment of peace, and greatest moment of connection with God, when he is off somewhere in a forest, or on a mountaintop, or by the ocean’s edge. A close second to his love for nature is a passion for travel and learning about world cultures. Otherwise, his free time is spent reading theology, history or historical fiction, or occasionally chipping away at some rudimentary French lesson. He tinkers each night around the kitchen with his wife, Kristen, and is the proud father of two college-aged young men. By day, he serves as one of the pastors to the good people of Bel Air United Methodist Church, and finds it an overwhelming privilege to be blessedly yoked with the responsibility of caring for this wonderful congregation. His greatest spiritual goal remains, despite many failings, to be a little more like Christ in and for the world.