Did You Know? – Feasting on the Word
• The Sea of Galilee (Lake Gennesaret) was a busy hub for local fisherman.
• Luke is using this ordinary circumstance to situate Jesus not as a teacher in the traditional setting of the synagogue, but rather as one who taught the crowds in the metaphoric setting of Simon’s boat.
Luke 5:1-11 (New Revised Standard Version)
Jesus Calls the First Disciples
5 Once while Jesus[a] 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.
Some Thoughts on Today’s Reading—Pastor Pam
So often, the stories of Jesus have something to do with water and living on the edge of it. He is baptized in the Jordan and he wanders in the wilderness parched from the lack of water. He is out on the boat with the disciples in the terrifying storm. He turns water to wine saving the wedding celebration. He offers the woman at the well water that will quench her thirst forever.
Water. It’s a noun of Biblical proportion that fills our souls. It laps against us in the edges of our lives. It represents the grace and life God offers us all individually and in community.
In Luke 5: 1-11, Jesus is standing near the lake at Gennesaret. The crowd presses against him. It won’t be the last time Jesus is on the edge of things. He changes his perspective and moves unto an empty fishing boat and speaks to people from a new place. His words fill those who listen with hope. Afterward, he will instruct the fisherman to put out into deep water where they will reap a harvest of fish that just about sinks their boats. They were on the edge of abundance. No fish all night and then, on God’s word, the nets are full.
The Gospel was preached to a world on edge more than 2,000 years ago. Today, the edginess remains for all Creation including our individual lives. We can listen to Christ’s words and act. We can leave the shoreline and put out to deep water and see how Jesus fills us.
He calls us to new perspectives and the hope of faith in him. I see us standing at the edge of our community with Jesus motioning us out into the deep water of town. He is calling us to put down our nets. As we consider our individual lives during the upcoming Season of Lent, I invite us all to think about what it looks like to venture out into the deep water of a community in need. Yes, we are God’s people on the edge, but God is with us. He will show us where and how to fish.
Grace and Peace,