WHO DID WHAT WITH WHOM?
My husband tells me that I have a pronoun problem – that is, I get so wrapped up in telling a story, where I clearly know who did what, that I will throw around pronouns with abandon and without making it clear which she did what thing with whom. [Just FYI, my sister never has a problem following. But, then, that is a classic difference between men and women.]
I may have that in common with Luke. In Luke 5:1-9, we read the author’s telling about the calling of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, and Simon Peter. Who is doing what is pretty clear until you get about verse 5, but please read the entire passage (v. 1-9) before moving on in this blog.
Note that in verse 3 “He” (Jesus) entered into Simon’s ship and ask “him” (Simon) to move out from the land. Jesus did not ask “them” to move the boat. In verse 4 “He” (Jesus) tells Simon (not Simon and his partners nor “them”) to go out into the deep to catch some fish. Simon baulks and then says “at Your word I (not we) will.” Here is the interesting part. In verse 6 it says “And when they had done this, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes…”
Who is doing the work of letting out the nets and hauling in the fish? Luke seems to indicate that IT might only be Simon and Jesus in the boat at the time. I believe we have reason to safely assume that Jesus was helping Simon haul in fish.
My local women’s Bible study group is going through the Armor of God study written by Pricilla Shirer. We are all really enjoying it and finding some timely lessons for each of our lives. It was Shirer pointed out to me that Jesus may have been doing the fishing with Simon.
But here is the first point I want to make: Jesus chose to make Simon and his buddies work for the haul and He chose to labor beside them. He could have provided for the fisherman and their families without doing the hard work of hauling in the fish.
He could have spoken to the fish and had them jump into the boat or right on up onto the shore. After all, it was He who moved the animals, by the will of God, to show up at the Ark in Genesis. [See Gen. 7:8-9]
Jesus could have had Simon pull up one fish with money it, which could have been of more value than the haul of fish. [See Matthew 17:27]
The Bible is full of examples of God making His children work for something rather than providing their needs in a miraculous way. For example: We know that the Spirit of the Lord moved Philip miraculously from the eunuch’s side to Azotus. [Actus 8:39-40] but mostly the preachers and teachers and other servants moved from place to place my walking, by ship, by donkey and all the other normal ways.
The lesson I want to have imprinted upon my mind is that whatever He asks me to do He will labor beside me to accomplish. Jesus is willing to get in there and get His hands dirty – to work just as hard as He expects me to work – even though He could command and just watch -- even though He could miraculously intervene and not even break a sweat.
Without Jesus working with him, Simon and his buddies caught nothing. When Simon followed Jesus’ command, the blessing was so rich that Simon could not reap the benefits without personal, hands on help from Jesus. We always need His help – for the good harvest and for the time of suffering.
This isn’t some new truth, but, to me, the lesson of Luke 5:1-9 really drives home the principal of Jesus toiling beside me in the work He has given me to do. Whenever it feels like I’m laboring alone and my net of resources is about to break, I hope God will bring this passage to mind and remind me that my Savior is fishing right along with me.
Either that is the lesson Luke was trying to impress upon us, or he has a pronoun problem.
If you are looking for a study for your women’s group, I recommend you consider The Armor of God by Pricilla Shirer.
I’d love to hear your thoughts too. You can write me at Nancy@DynamicChristianMinistries.org
Luke 5:1-9 [KJV] 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 inclosed 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: