The journey of a lifetime awaits the traveler and as one undertakes it there are three lessons to be on the lookout for
1. A closer walk with God
2. fresh encounters and experiences
3. clarity of purpose and pursuit
We will discover that Jesus is looking at pilgrims who will take the journey with Him into the unknown to new experiences and encounters with Him, to places undefined, to a walk of a lifetime.
This is a walk of faith into the deep end of the unknown, into virgin areas, into mountains that must move. It is a journey that starts off with a command, “FOLLOW Me, you’ve never been this way before, I will show you the way one day at a time.”
Never was this more vivid than in the lives of ordinary men than Jesus encountered while teaching the crowds one fine day. In the gospel of Luke chapter five verses one through eleven we meet the call of the first group of men who where to engage in what would be the greatest journey of their live.
I see in this story a bunch of men, experts at their trade leaving behind and following a man with nothing to show for a fishing trade, a man as ordinary as they were into a 3 ½ year journey to fresh revelation each day. How could experienced fishermen listen to a man who all His life had been a carpenter?
I see a people who take a risk, following a man who defies logic and goes against all ordinary dealings, a man who was going to change their lives forever. This was an interesting set up because it was a matter of minutes before the lives of professional fishermen were about to change. What they did was a great risk, leaving their trusted trade, livelihood and follow a Preacher and live His journey day by day.
The Bible tell us in the account of Luke hat these men were doing their normal everyday life. They had been fishing the same lake for years, making their families develop from the fish they caught in that place. Maybe they had established fish mongering businesses. Maybe they had fish canning industries. Maybe all their children had gone to school earned from the trade. Maybe whole families depended on the lake for food. These men owned boats to show that their business was running successfully. Things were happening in their lives and there was no hint at all that change was coming.
Everything was normal in the lives of these men. Routine was the order of the day and life was moving at the usual pace. But that day Jesus appeared in their lives and provoked them to undertake an unusual journey: to leave this lucrative trade and pursue something else. The same can be said of us, that we have normal routine. In the same way that these men were washing their nets, so too may we be washing our nets in whatever trade we are. We may be comfortable with the kind of life we are living but there is bound to be a Jesus who will step onto the scene and change that forever.
When Jesus came to the Lake His business was to minister to the crowds. From the way the story is told, we can assume that these men were doing their usual stuff and had nothing to do with the teaching of Jesus. Maybe they were overhearing the talk and got concerned about their own lives. No one can quite answer the question but something surely attracted their attention.
Jesus had been talking with the crowds for all this while then He suddenly shifted His attention to Peter. He borrowed his boat. Why his boat of all the boats that were there? Couldn’t Jesus see that Peter was busy? After all he had spent the whole night on the Lake and needed to finish washing up his nets so that he could go home to a nice hot meal prepared by his lovely wife? Couldn’t He understand that by asking for Peter’s boat He was disturbing the business? Are we not on familiar turf here? Isn’t it that Jesus has come to your everyday routine and suddenly wanted to borrow your time? Get ready because the journey of a lifetime is about to take off.
Jesus turned to Peter and told him to cast His net into the deep in anticipation of a great catch. Here was an experienced fisherman being told by a rank amateur what to do. No way could this thing be a reality because the men had laboured all night in vain. That night it would appear the fish had not been biting and were not interested at all in going to support the life of Peter. He had been counting his losses and here comes a man to him to say, “Cast your net in the deep.”
God knows how Peter should have felt. We know him as a temperamental man and maybe he may have cursed in his heart. Maybe you feel the same way too. Having done things in a defined formula and then someone comes along to say, “Do it this way and it will work,” and yet you know that what they are talking about cannot happen. You’re the expert in the field.
I believe everyone knew that fish could not be caught at that hour, worse still with the crowds on the shore and all the disturbances going on. But, Peter took a risk and cast his net into the deep. Amazing things happened for him, a great catch like never before came his way. The fish that he caught almost caused his boat to sink and he ended up calling the men on the shore to bring other boats to help bring in the catch. That my friend is what I call a journey of a lifetime.
Thereafter we see the dawn of the journey, when Jesus told the men to follow Him. They would no longer catch ordinary things (fish), their target was now human. Isn’t it amazing how Jesus changes their profession in an instant? All along they had known to do business on the water, but now Jesus was calling them to do business on land, with people who reasoned and not the fish they were familiar with. The journey with Christ will take you to unfamiliar territory and force you to leave behind the things you’re comfortable with and force you to a place where you learn new things. They left all they had and knew to pursue a man they had only met that day.
The Jesus of the Journey
He was a Teacher of the word, a man with an unusual understanding, that people would say, “He teaches with so much authority, unlike the guys we hear every other day.” There was something unusual about His services and teachings that people pressed in to hear Him. He seemed to satisfy the needs of the people more than the religious leaders of the day were. I believe it is the same satisfaction you and I have got from being born again.
He drew people to the Lake and preached from there. It would seem there was a revelation that God brought out from there. It would seem that His teaching was anchored on the illumination of the Holy Spirit. He seemed to reveal hidden truths, as a light to the Gentiles and the Jews in that day. Today we are enlightened because of the truth that is found in the Word. He who knows the Word has found a truth that will set him free.
He used whatever was available to Him at that time. Here we find Jesus networking and building relationships with everyone involved. When He needed a boat to minister from, He had to network with Peter. He can use what we have to minister through and to us. We have something that He can use in ministry. We need not look down upon what we have. Look at Moses. God tells him to use the rod as a means of ministry and we see him part the Red Sea with it, strike the Rock for water and many other recorded miracles in the journey to the Promised Land.
When all was said and done, Jesus remembered to minister to the minister and ministry. Having ministered to the crowd from a borrowed boat we see Jesus turn His attention to the owner of the boat. He recognized that Peter had needs and He chose to minister to them at that time. He will minister to the ministry that serves Him all the way. He recognized that Peter had ministered to His needs and it was time to pay back the favour. We find Jesus speaking a word that Peter held onto. That word was to change Peter’s worldview. Jesus can bring you a word regardless of the season you are in.
We also learn that Jesus will not reject the sinner. Peter looked at himself and realized what a sinful man he was and pleaded with Jesus to leave him alone. But we see a nature no other journey can show us. He refused to attend to Peter’s sin but referred to His assignment- “You will be fishers of men.” Jesus is not a man of the past He focuses on the future and lets you know how useful you are to the whole picture. Having called them out, Jesus gave them a reason to follow. Why else would they quickly leave everything and follow Him?
The Journey Itself
• This was a journey of the unusual. Jesus tells them to let down their nets in the day time, a time fish were not likely to be caught.
• It was a journey of risks. A fisherman’s reputation was at risk. What if he caught nothing, what if he made a fool of himself? These were things that Peter had to consider before taking the risk.
• It was a journey of the supernatural. Can you imagine the net worth of the fish that were caught? Imagine how much of a fortune the men would have made from them. What happened on that day must have been the intervention of heaven.
• It was a journey of team building. These fishermen worked together in bringing the catch home. It was a time to complement one another. And the most amazing thing is that when the time to leave and follow they left together.
• It is a journey of self sacrifice. These men had to leave everything they had to follow the Lord. They left family, careers and businesses to embark on a journey with no defined end.
As we get into this journey we should look back and reflect on what Moses did as he came to Pharaoh. Scripture says in Exodus 3v18 that he asked the King for three days off time to go into the wilderness to be with God. This was significant in its own way, here was a man asking for time away to be with God. Like the fisherman, Moses wanted to leave the daily bustles of life and focus on something that was going to give him results.
On the journey there is a need to separate oneself to seeking the Presence of God. Egypt wanted to go a three day journey into the wilderness just so that they could get intimate with their God. The Exodus turned into one lifetime adventure that would turn millions of lives around. These fishermen left everything that mattered most so that they could discover new things. We too need time out to seek the Lord and I promise you that the best place to seek is on the journey. And what better guarantee than to know that The Way is for us and will lead us to the end place.
“A man’s steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand his own way?”