Author: Rachel Kidd
Just like Matthew tells us, Luke emphasizes that Jesus was a man on a mission. Jesus came to bring a message of good news to spiritually poor people, the blind, bound, broken-hearted and bruised people. He says that His message will make the blind see, set the bound free, and heal the broken.
Luke is purposeful in the way in which he presents the message of Christ, making a clear argument for the gospel. Jesus proclaims this message in Luke chapter 4, proves it in chapter 5, and practices it throughout the rest of the book of Luke.
Jesus continually extends an invitation to us to become a part of His manifesto, a participant in His mission. In a broken world, we are always interacting with the spiritually blind and bound.
Today, the same Christ that walked the earth is within us. As the body of Christ, the church has the responsibility to fulfill Jesus’ mission on earth.
We are called to walk with the broken and sick, to share with them the Good News of the Gospel, or to fulfill Jesus’ manifesto.
Throughout Luke, we see Jesus reaching out to the spiritually broken over and over again. We witness the bonds He builds with fishermen, sinners, and tax collectors.
Simon Peter was an ordinary fisherman from Nazareth, a working class man a bit rough around the edges. But Jesus called him. He gave him a nick-name Petra or Rocky, meaning stability. Peter was nothing but stable, but Jesus called out this quality in him.
Jesus developed His relationship with Peter, calling him the ‘rock’ and encouraging him for three years. By the book of Acts, Peter became the rock, a cornerstone of the early church.
Jesus exemplified what it means to encourage our friends, calling out good qualities in them and helping them become the best versions of themselves.
When I feel encouraged, I am motivated to improve. Words of affirmation from friends, family, or especially from a person of authority, make me feel valued.
Whatever you call people, they have a tendency of living up to it. It’s what it means to be a good friend, a good leader, and the living embodiment of the body of Christ.
The Miracle of Fish
Early one morning, Jesus is preaching to a crowd of people on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Despite the crowds, Jesus’ attention is on a fisherman.
This man is discouraged, he spent all night fishing and didn’t catch a single fish. Jesus knows that one day, this man will be a great church leader and preach to thousands, inciting revival on the day of Pentecost.
But on this day, this man can’t even catch fish. How can someone who can’t catch fish become a fisher of men? Jesus saw Peter and who he could become.
With the crowds growing around Him, Jesus has been pushed to the water’s edge and running out of room on dry land. He asks Peter to borrow his boat to use as a pulpit, giving Him more space to preach to the crowds from the water.
Peter, probably reluctantly, agrees to share his boat. Peter continues to wash his fishing nets while Jesus finishes teaching from the boat. Afterwards, Jesus asks Peter to go out fishing with Him once more.
Now Peter had been fishing all night and was already discouraged, having caught nothing. But, he goes with Jesus anyway. Reluctantly casting his nets once again, he says “Teacher, we’ve fished all night and caught nothing.”
Jesus tells Peter to pull the nets in and check again. This time, the nets were overflowing with fish, requiring all hands on deck to pull them in. Both Peter’s and his brother’s boat were full of freshly caught fish, nearly sinking them both.
Peter falls to Jesus’ feet and says “depart from me oh Lord, I’m a sinful man.” Why would Peter respond this way to the miracle Jesus just performed?
Jesus is trying to recruit Peter to join Him on his mission, His manifesto. He is calling Peter to be a partner as they give sight to the blind, healing to the broken, and freedom to the spiritually bound.
He is asking Peter to leave behind his simple fisherman’s life and pursue instead a life dedicated to fishing for men. Peter seems to feel unqualified for this role by Jesus’ side, an uneducated, impulsive sinner with a temper and a foul mouth.
But, Jesus sees something more in Peter. He knows that this man who can’t even catch fish today, can become a great partner in the mission of the Gospel. He also knows that to get there, He must teach Peter a few things.
Jesus teaches Peter and future readers of scripture, a few things about fishing for men as partners in His manifesto.
- You are not the fisherman, Jesus is. You are not the deliverer, Jesus is.
Without Him in the boat with us, we will return with empty nets.
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” –Matthew 19:26
When you try to go fishing for men, or lead someone to Christ, it is an impossible task without the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the evangelist and Jesus is the fisherman.
You cannot catch men alone, but with Jesus, anything is possible.
- Jesus has control over the boat.
When Jesus gets on Peter’s fishing boat, Peter is no longer in charge. Jesus tells Peter when to cast the nets, when to pull them up, and when to return to shore.
When we accept the Holy Spirit in our lives, we are surrendering control to Jesus. We are giving Him authority over our lives, trusting in His wisdom.
- Forsake everything to follow Jesus.
Peter was a career fisherman. He had spent his life learning his trade and earning a living. But, when Jesus calls him to leave it to follow Him, he does.
Peter doesn’t bring his hard-earned boat with him, he doesn’t continue to hold on to his former life. He leaves it all behind to become a follower of Jesus, a full-time fisher of men.
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world yet loses his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”-Matthew 16:24-26
Like Peter, we are called to be partner’s in the fulfillment of Jesus’ manifesto. We are called to follow Him, pursue His word, and lead others to Him through the power of the Holy Spirit.