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From Shallows to Depths

In Luke 5:1-11, scripture records for us the calling of Jesus’ first disciples—Peter, James and John. These three would eventually become his inner circle. The occasion was Jesus teaching “the Word of God” (5:1) on the shores of Galilee, a Word the people “pressed upon him” to hear. Would to God a revival of such an interest in TRUTH might infect modern-day America. 

Jesus took the occasion of two ships nearby to create a buffer zone between himself and the crowd. He asked Peter to “thrust out a little from the land” (5:3) and continued teaching. You can see the practicality of such a request. Peter accommodated our Lord and kept on washing his nets. 

When the preaching was done, Jesus made another request of Peter: “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught” (5:4). Three observations are in order. 

First, Jesus was about to reward a PRACTICAL kindness shown to him with a SUPERNATURAL kindness. I believe Jesus demonstrated such kindness throughout his entire ministry. Jesus would later teach his disciples that giving so much as a “cup of cold water” in the name of a disciple would entail a reward (Matthew 10:42). It turns out that Peter giving the courtesy of a little preaching room to Jesus carried a reward of its own. Kindness and gentleness are core characteristics of Christ. Peter discovered that truth early on. If you're a disciple of Jesus, you’ve no doubt discovered he ALWAYS returns kindness for a kindness shown. 

Secondly, Jesus typically requests of a disciple that they “thrust out a LITTLE from the land” (5:3) BEFORE asking them to “launch out into the DEEP” (5:4). The first is often preparation for the second. A reasonable act of obedience with a PRACTICAL result can prepare the way for an unreasonable act of obedience with SUPERNATURAL results. 

Thirdly, there is NO SECURITY, there are NO GUARANTEES for a child of God outside the will of God. After a night of fishing with empty nets, one act of obedience literally broke their nets. God is STILL in the business of filling the nets of the obedient. These three men “forsook all” (5:11) to follow Christ. There is no greater security to be found in this life than operating under the Lordship of Christ. 

The joy of the journey consists in knowing that what begins in the SHALLOW waters of the practical can lead to the DEEP waters of the supernatural.


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