While the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennes′aret. And he saw two boats by the lake; but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had ceased speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking, they beckoned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zeb′edee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.
This passage is about call. The call of disciples by Christ,
Do you remember when Jesus first got in your boat?
Were you surprised that Jesus was there? Were you thinking that you really weren’t expecting him?
Did you find yourself drawn to follow, to do something you didn’t think you would be doing?
Such as going to church.
You had been away so long or perhaps you had never been at all. Or you’d had bad experiences
And like the future disciples in this passage, who have toiled all night to no avail
You are thinking no I have already tried that, tried to pray, tried to read scripture.
And anyways we really don’t know anything about Christianity. Is there a handbook?
We haven’t been so good, there are guilts we are still carrying, or perhaps we just don’t think we are the Christian type. And there are a thousand reasons people think they are not good enough, to be a Christian, and believe one needs pre-approval.
And then we say or said like Simon
“Depart from me, for I am a sinful (person) O Lord”
And yet there is Jesus sitting in your boat, my boat. And he tells us to have faith
And so, we put out our nets, try to pray, seek out some community.
And we are astonished, that Jesus, and hopefully the community we find, do not expect us to be perfect.
We don’t need to know all the rules, or all the answers…
Easter is an important time for myself, it is when I came back to faith.
And as Christians we now also it is a time of repentance and acknowledging what Christ has done for us.
It is the time when believers are baptised into the communion and proclaim with the community their faith in Christ.
Now the first disciples in Luke’s account, and I like Luke’s gospel as it is connected to Acts and speaks about many who became disciples and took Christ’s message out into the world.
But we can still have our doubts.
Simon Peter, has Jesus in his boat, he has seen a miracle and yet he tells Jesus to go.
And Jesus said “Do not be afraid, henceforth you will be catching men”
To elaborate a little Jesus is saying ‘you will be helping me spread my message’
Fishermen, not learned scribes, not the ones seen as holy by their peers
So, who are we to be surprised when Jesus calls us?
In 1980 the punk band The Clash put out an album called Sandinista!
Inspired by left wing revolutionaries in Nicaragua
But on this album was a song called ‘Sound of Sinners’.
The chorus started “After all this time to believe in Jesus”!
And continued with the idea that he wasn’t so cool and that he needed Jesus.
A punk band at the height of international fame, included this song on their album.
And another artist of the same generation Paul Weller, had a song called, ‘Can You Heal us Holy Man?
Jesus came into a place many might not expect.
“And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him”
When you follow Jesus, things will change, you will change, perhaps you will have to leave certain things behind.
I mentioned Easter as being a time I came back to Church. It’s true.
But I also went to Church in Toronto. This is the first year in 7 that I will not go to a hockey tournament on Easter weekend.
My life has changed, it has been considerably changed over the past few years, new challenges and opportunities, because of following Christ.
And I have had to give up some things to take up these new things. And that isn’t easy, I like all of us have wrestled in my heart in answering Jesus’ call wondering where it is leading me. And I was reminded even more of the importance of prayer.
Jesus est entré dans notre bateau, nous avons pris la décision de le suivre. Mais nous sommes humains, nous avons peut-être des questions, des peurs. Nous devons aller à la source et lui parler directement, lui demander de nous guider. Jesus est là mais nous devons lui parler, il connaît nos coeurs.
‘Do not be afraid’ he tells his future disciples. Jesus knows we may be surprised he is calling us.
A few years ago, I interviewed Sara Miles a San Francisco based author. She was a left wing, gay, activist and she still is. Yet she felt compelled to go into the Episcopal Church in her neighbourhood. Church wasn’t something folks in her circle did. But she went and became a parishioner. As she is a doer, she set up a food bank, one that serves the marginalized, the very marginalized in her city. Jesus got into her boat, Jesus needed her and called her. She had the struggles with being called.
But even as we follow Jesus, we must be humble, especially at Easter, but at all times, we must remember what he did and continues to do for us. We must give thanks, and we must confess.
Jesus is calling.
Do not be afraid. N'ai pas peur