August 21, 2016
Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost
1 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret,
2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.
3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.
4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.
5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.
6 And when they had this done, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.
7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.
8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.
9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:
10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.
11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.
(Luke 5: 1-11 KJV)
We find a vast crowd of people flocked about Jesus as the Scripture signifies; they showed respect to His teaching, though not without some rudeness to His person because they pressed upon Him. Some would consider this a discredit to Jesus: to be cried up by the vulgar when none of the rulers nor the Pharisees believed in Him. However, Jesus considered it an honor because their souls were as precious as the souls of the “grand,” and it was, and is, His aim to bring not so much the mighty but the many sons, and daughters to God.
As Jesus stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, upon a level with the crowd where they could not see Him, He was lost among them. While everyone was striving to get near Him, He was crowded and in danger of being pushed into the water. So, what must He do? It does not appear that his hearers had any plans to give any advantage, but there were two ships, or fishing boats, brought ashore. One belonging to Simon and Andrew and the other belonging to Zebedee and his sons, James and John.
So, while the fisherman were out washing their nets, Jesus entered the ship belonging to Simon and asked to lend it to Him that he may continue His teaching. It may seem as though that Jesus might have commanded Simon, but for love’s sake, Jesus rather prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. This could be worse for Him being heard, but Christ would have it so, that He might be better seen; and it is His being lifted up that draws men to Him. In Proverbs 8:2, it states that wisdom cries in the tops of high places. This is to suggest that Christ had a strong voice (so much so, that He made the dead hear it), and that He did not desire to favor himself.
Now, verses 4-5 of the text reads: “Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.” I want us to really look at the word nevertheless. Nevertheless is an adverb meaning in spite of that; notwithstanding; all the same. But, if we were to break down this word, we would begin to see three words: never the less. Never The Less! NEVER THE LESS!!
But, never the less with God is always more than enough.
So, ponder on these questions: How many of us are doing what God has told us to do? How many of us have questioned what God told us to do because it seemed or sounded crazy? How many of have questioned what God told us to do because it wasn’t how we were taught or trained?
Certainly, God has told each of us to do something. We were excited because He showed us the end at the beginning. We saw where God was going with it. We, then, put our hands to the plow, and set out on our God-ordained journey. We stepped out on faith. And the next thing you know – nothing seems to be working out like the way you envisioned it would. People we thought that would be excited about what God called us to do don’t show up or support you. Then, obstacles come and pop up on every corner – one thing after another. Obstacles that you honestly thought God would have cleared from your path before you got there, or at least when got there. But they’re there, rearing their ugly heads, sticking their tongue at us.
People of God, listen, we must understand that this journey will not be easy. Every obstacle and hurdle that comes our way God will not clear from our path. It’s a test to see what we will do when we get there: Will we stand still and let God move? Or, will we fall back into fear and cowardice? However, I know sometimes we can’t help but to look up toward Heaven and say, “God, Can I please get a break right now?” We worked so hard at this thing. We’ve been faithful and learned our craft. We’ve toiled at, and now we’re tired. We’re ready to put away our net. But I want you to know that nevertheless, God still has use for what we have.
Now, in this passage of Scripture in Luke 5, Simon, whom we know as Peter, knew his craft. He and his crew had worked all night long. They knew the best time to fish. They even knew the places where you would more likely catch fish! So, after Jesus finished speaking to the people, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.” Just think about this: Simon Peter knew all there was to know about fishing. He knew the best time to fish was at night – which they’d already done. It surely wasn’t in the heat of the day! And, definitely not at that particular place where Jesus was telling them to go – especially if he wanted to catch anything! He already tried and came up with nothing…empty-handed. Top this all off with being told by someone who wasn’t even a fisherman by trade how to do his job!
It is here that we must take note that this is Jesus telling him to do something. Simon explained to Jesus that they had tried all night and had nothing to show for their efforts. But, it is what Simon said that proved to be to his benefit: “Nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.” Right where Simon was, he decided to be obedient to the Word. The next two verses states, “And when they had this done, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes: that their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both ships, so that they began to sink.” When it comes to God, nevertheless is always, always more than enough!
While I was studying this text, I began to ponder on these words: more than enough. Two distinctive words dropped in my spirit: El-Shaddai. El-Shaddai in most of our English translations has been translated to mean God Almighty. That’s because it was thought by the Greeks that Shaddai came from a root verb shadad that means “to overpower” or “to destroy.” Likewise, the Latin Vulgate translated Shaddai as “Omnipotens” (from which we get our English word “omnipotent”). In this sense, God is so overpowering that He is considered “Almighty.” But, El-Shaddai simply translated in Hebrew means “The All Sufficient God.” El points to the power of God Himself. Shaddai is derived from the Hebrew word, shad meaning breast, which implies that Shaddai signifies one who nourishes, supplies, and satisfies. This means that God has the power to complete promises of blessings and prosperity. Everything God does is over the top, great than, more than enough, a surplus, super-abundant, overflowing, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over!
In conclusion, God has told us to do some things. It looks like we have less to work with. We have less help, less resources, and may have had less results in the past. But people, people of God, we need to continue to be obedient to the Word even though and even when it may look like and feel like we’re losing. We must learn to do what God is telling us to do merely because He’s telling us to do it. We become more obedient we will reap the more than enough. Nevertheless, with God, is always more than enough.