Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first sixteen verses of the fifth chapter. When you come to this particular passage of Scripture you will find the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ beginning to take off in both scope and magnitude. In the previous chapter we find Jesus being led by the Spirit of the living God into the wilderness where He would be tempted by the devil during a period of forty days. After being led by the Spirit of the living God into the wilderness, and after overcoming the temptations of the devil according to that which was written in the word of God, the beloved physician Luke writes and records how Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and specifically to His hometown of Nazareth. It would be there in His hometown of Nazareth where Jesus would enter into the synagogue on the sabbath and begin reading from that which was delivered unto Him. Luke records how the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was delivered unto Him, and how Jesus located the portion of the prophetic book where the prophet spoke of the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord being upon Him, and anointing him for very specific acts of ministry and service among men within and upon the earth. What is actually quite interesting concerning the Spirit’s activity within and upon the life of Jesus is that it would begin with and by the Spirit descending upon Jesus at the Jordan River in the bodily form of a dove. Immediately after Jesus departed from the Jordan River He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness where He would be tempted of the devil during a period of forty days. The very next mention of the Spirit within and upon the life of Jesus is after the temptation had ended and after He emerged from the wilderness, for Luke writes how Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit. This is actually quite interesting and astonishing when you take the time to think about and consider it, for while in the synagogue within the town of Nazareth Jesus chose to declare in that particular town—that town which He had grown up, and that town where His mother, His brothers and His sisters were all living—to make an emphatic and bold declaration concerning Himself. It would be at Nazareth where Jesus would declare of Himself that the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord was upon Him, and how the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord anointed Him to preach the gospel to the poor, how the Spirit sent Him to heal the broken-hearted, how the Spirit sent Him to preach deliverance to the captives, and the recovering of sight to the blind, and how the Spirit had sent Him to set at liberty those that are bruised, and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
What’s so incredibly unique about Jesus’ time in Nazareth is that He had already been baptized by John the Baptist in the waters of the Jordan River. It was there at the waters of Jordan River where the heavens were opened and where Jesus not only heard it declared over Him that He was the beloved Son of the living God, and how the living God was well pleased in and with Him. Before Jesus ever even entered into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil He knew two very important realities—first, that He was the eternal and beloved Son of God, and secondly, that the Father was well pleased and delighted in Him. It could be argued that Jesus knew who His Father was years before the heavens were opened at the Jordan River and He heard the Father declare Him to be His beloved Son, for when Jesus was twelve years old and speaking with the scribes and teachers of the Law, He spoke unto His parents and asked them if they knew that He must needs be about His Father’s business. The words which Jesus spoke unto Mary and Joseph there in the city of Jerusalem at the Temple suggest and point to the tremendous and incredible reality that Jesus knew who He was and knew who His Father was. There is not a doubt in my mind that had Jesus not known who He was and who His Father was, such a statement would and perhaps even could not have been made. At the Jordan River, however, it was more than simply Jesus speaking of Himself in relationship with and in relationship to the Father, but it was the Father Himself speaking from heaven and emphatically declaring of Jesus that He was His beloved Son. What’s more, is that the Father didn’t merely declare of Jesus that He was His beloved Son, but the Father also expressed His pleasure and His delight in the Son. It wasn’t enough for the Father to declare of Jesus His relationship as the eternal and only begotten Son, but the Father would go on to emphatically declare His pleasure and delight in Jesus. It’s worth noting that this was before Jesus had performed a single miracle, before He had taught and spoken a single word, and before He had even engaged Himself in any type of public ministry that the Father expressed His delight and pleasure in Him. I happen to find this to be truly remarkable and wonderful, for before Jesus went into the wilderness, and before Jesus returned from the wilderness to engage Himself in the life that was before Him, He knew two distinct realities—first, that He was the eternal Son of the Father, and secondly, that His Father was pleased and delighted in Him.
There is not a doubt in my mind that there are countless men and women who right now desperately need to experience this reality and manifestation within their lives—the reality of identity as they hear the Father declare of them they are His son and daughter, and that He is pleased and delighted in them. Tell me dear brother, tell me dear sister—you are reading the words of this writing today—do you know that the Father delights in you? Do you know that the Father is pleased in you and pleased with you? You might argue that you have made a number of mistakes within your life, and that you have struggled and stumbled along the way. You might argue that you are somehow unqualified and unworthy of such a statement and reality within your life. You might argue that you don’t deserve the pleasure and delight of the Father within your life. You might feel as though the wrongs you have committed within your life far outweighs any pleasure and any delight of the Father within your life. What’s more, is that you might have a hard time hearing and even accepting the fact that you are a beloved son and beloved daughter of the Father in heaven. What I so love and appreciate about the words which the Father spoke unto and concerning the Son on this day at the Jordan River is that the Father didn’t merely declare of Jesus that He was His Son, but the Father declared that He was His “beloved” Son. Please don’t miss the tremendous significance of that single word, for that single word has the power to completely and totally transform what is an already wonderful and powerful statement. It’s one thing to hear the Father declare and speak over you that you are His son and His daughter, but it is another thing altogether to hear that you are His beloved son, and His beloved daughter. When Jesus emerged from the waters of the Jordan River, He didn’t merely hear the Father declare of Him that He was His Son, but He heard the Father declare of Him that He was His beloved Son—a term which emphatically speaks of affection, love, intimacy and personal relationship. I am completely and utterly convinced that there are men and women who right now desperately need to hear that they are a son or daughter of the living God—and not only that they are a son or daughter of the living God, but also that they are a beloved son or daughter. That word “beloved” takes this statement and reality of being a son or daughter and completely transforms it into something much more powerful within the life of an individual—particularly and especially when men and women lay hold of and believe such a reality is true within their lives.
When Jesus entered into the synagogue in His hometown of Nazareth—not only did He do so full of the power of the Spirit, but He also did so knowing that He was the beloved Son of the Father, and that the Father was well pleased in and well pleased with Him. When Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, He knew who He was, He knew who His Father was, He knew the Father’s pleasure and delight in Him, and now we discover that He knew that the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord was upon Him, and had anointed Him to preach the gospel to the poor, to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, to preach the recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. It would be from His hometown of Nazareth that Jesus would begin His public ministry of teaching and speaking unto the people. It would be from His hometown of Nazareth where Jesus would declare and speak of the Spirit’s involvement within and upon His life, for the Spirit had anointed Him for a specific task and assignment within and upon the earth. The Spirit would descend upon Him at the Jordan River, the Spirit would lead Him into the wilderness, the Spirit would be with, within and upon Him when He returned from the wilderness, and now Jesus is emphatically declaring that the Spirit of the Lord is upon Him because He has anointed Him for a specific task and assignment within and upon the earth. It’s worth noting that this message was rejected by those in Nazareth—first because of familiarity with Him being Joseph’s son, and secondly because of His words of indictment concerning the many widows in the land of Israel during the days of Elijah when a great famine and drought struck the land, and yet the Lord sent Elijah to a widow in the town of Sarepta in the region of Sidon. What’s more, is that Jesus would go on to deliver words of indictment concerning the many lepers which were present in the land of Israel during the days of Elisha, and yet how the Lord sent Elisha unto a Syrian general named Naaman who himself had leprosy. Upon hearing these words, those within His hometown grew offended with Jesus and drove Him to the brow of a cliff where they would that He would be thrust off it. Luke records how Jesus passing through the midst of them left them and went His way, and how He came down to Capernaum, which was a city of Galilee. It would be there in the city of Capernaum where Jesus would teach them on the sabbath days, and where those who were present there were astonished at His doctrine, for His word was with power. Having been rejected in His hometown of Nazareth by those who knew Him the best, Jesus departed from their midst and journeyed down to another town in Galilee called Capernaum where He would teach in their synagogues on the sabbath day.
The fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus recorded by Luke concludes with Jesus delivering a man who was possessed by a spirit of an unclean devil within the synagogue there in the city of Capernaum. What’s more, is that we also find towards the end of this particular chapter Jesus driving out the fever which had seized and gripped Peter’s mother-in-law, and how upon the fever leaving her, she rose up and ministered unto them. When the sun was setting on this particular day, Luke records that all those that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto Jesus, and how He laid His hands on every one of them, and healed them. Furthermore, Luke goes on to write and record how devils came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. Upon driving out the demons and hearing their cries having come out of those they tormented and oppressed, Jesus rebuked them and suffered them not to speak, for they knew He was the Christ. The fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Luke ends and concludes with Jesus departing the next day and going into a desert place, and how the people sought Him, and came unto Him, and stayed Him that He should not depart from them. As the fourth chapter draws to a close we find the fame of Jesus beginning to spread within and throughout the region, as men and women within the region began hearing of the great authority and power He exercised—not only when speaking and teaching, but also in casting out demons and healing all manner of sickness, disease and infirmity. By the time the fourth chapter of the gospel of Luke ends and draws to a close we find Him emphatically declaring unto those in Capernaum that He must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also, for there had He been sent by the Father. The final verse of the fourth chapter describes how Jesus preached in the synagogues of Galilee, for His ministry wasn’t simply one of healing, miracles, signs and wonders, but was also one of teaching. I am convinced that we must not miss this point concerning the ministry of Jesus, for there would be many who would get caught up in the healing ministry of Jesus, and many who would get lost in the ministry of casting out devils, raising the dead, causing blinded eyes to see, causing deaf ears to hear, causing mute tongues to speak, and causing the lame to walk again. There are very few, however, who will see beyond simply the physical and tangible ministry of Jesus the Christ, and fully immerse and saturate themselves in His teaching. I absolutely love how Luke records Jesus teaching and preaching in their synagogues, for while it is true that there is a place for the healing and deliverance ministry of Jesus the Christ, we cannot and must not ever sacrifice the words of Christ for the works of Christ. What I mean by this is that it is very easy to get so caught up and consumed in the works of Christ, and yet completely miss out on the tremendous importance of the words of Christ. What’s more, is that I am convinced that it’s in the words of Christ where we can truly understand the will of the Father. This reality is expressed with great care and conviction in the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus contrasts the works we engage ourselves in and our commitment to the will of the Father who is in heaven:
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23).
Building upon this particular point I happen to find it truly wonderful and remarkable how the fifth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Luke opens up, for the beloved physician Luke writes how it came to pass, that as the people pressed upon Jesus to hear the word of God, He stood by the lake Gennesaret. The fifth chapter of this New Testament gospel begins and opens up with the people pressing upon Jesus Christ to hear the word of God, which is truly remarkable when you think about it. The fifth chapter of this New Testament gospel opens up with people desperate to hear the word of God, and desperate to listen to Jesus teach and preach the word of God. So intense was their desire and hunger to hear the word of God that Jesus chose to enter into one of the ships which were there by the shore of the lake. Luke records how the ship Jesus entered into belonged to Simon, and how Jesus prayed Simon that he would thrust out a little from the land. Once removed from the shore of the lake Jesus sat down and began teaching the people from the midst of a ship. Eventually there came an end to Jesus’ teaching the people from the midst of the ship, and once the teaching had ended, Jesus turned unto Simon and instructed him to launch out into the deep, and let his net for a draught. In order to truly understand the significance of the command and instruction which Jesus spoke unto Simon it’s important for us to read Simon’s response, for it is Simon’s response that truly adds weight and value to the instruction and command of Jesus. Upon hearing Jesus instruct him to launch out into the deep, and to let down his net for a draught, Simon declared unto Jesus how they had toiled all night, and have taken nothing. It’s important that we recognize and understand that this wasn’t the only thing Simon said unto Jesus, for Luke records how Simon went on to declare unto Jesus that according to His word he would let down the net. Before we get into the part of Simon’s response where he agreed to let down his net, we must first come to terms with the first half of his response. In fact, I would dare say the first part of Simon’s response is directly linked and connected to what we read concerning both the ships, as well as Simon. Luke records how the ships were anchored along the shore of the lake, and how the owners of the ship weren’t in them, for they were washing their nets. Simon declared unto Jesus that he had toiled all night and had caught nothing, and when Jesus came unto the lake followed by a great crowd of people Simon and his partners were washing their nets. When Jesus first encountered Simon and his partners there at the lake, He didn’t encounter them in the synagogue, nor did He encounter Jesus in the Temple in Jerusalem, but rather by the lake in the place where he was most comfortable. When Simon encountered Jesus, he didn’t encounter him in a place of worship, but rather in a place of work—a place that was not only most familiar to him, but also a place that was most comfortable for him.
ENCOUNTERING JESUS IN THE PLACE OF WORK! There would be many who would emphatically declare and proclaim that the only place to encounter Jesus is in the house of worship where His presence manifests itself, and where men and women gather together to worship the living God. There are those among us who think and believe that if we want to experience and encounter the presence of Jesus within our lives, we can only do so in the house of worship where men and women gather together to sing songs and listen to a message preached from behind the pulpit. What I so absolutely love about this particular passage found within the New Testament gospel of Luke is that Simon didn’t encounter Jesus in a place of worship, but rather in a place of work. Scripture makes it very clear that Simon, his brother Andrew, James and John were all fishermen, which means that for them it was their livelihood. These two sets of brothers were fishermen by trait, and it was through fishing they were able to make a living and provide for themselves and their families. We don’t know if James, John and Andrew were married, but we do know that Simon was married, for in the previous chapter we find reference to his mother-in-law who was sick with a fever. For Simon, fishing and being out on the open water was how he made his living, and how he provided for he and his wife. What I so love about this particular encounter is that not only did Jesus encounter Simon in the place of work, but Jesus also encountered Simon in what might and what could have been a place of disappointment in the place of work. I would argue that as fishermen, Simon and his brother Andrew, as well as James and John faced nights on the open sea when regardless of how long they labored and toiled to catch fish, they ended up bringing empty nets up into their ships. I am curious how many times and how often these two sets of brothers cast their nets out into the open sea in hopes of catching fish in order that they could provide for themselves and make a living. How many times within a given night did Simon and his brother Andrew let down their net in order that they might catch fish to bring back to the shore? What’s more, is I can’t help but wonder how many nights within a given month, or even within a given year Simon and his brother Andrew, and even James and John were out upon the waters letting down their nets hoping to catch fish, yet they ended up returning to the shore empty-handed, or “empty-netted.” Luke records how this particular day was one of those times when Simon and his brother had spent the entire night laboring and toiling upon the open sea hoping to land a catch to bring back to the shore, and yet they returned to the shore empty-handed.
While Scripture doesn’t specifically suggest disappointment and perhaps even frustration within the heart of Simon, I can’t help but feel as though there had to have been times when they would labor and toil all night, and yet regardless how many times they let down their net, they would recover the nets completely empty. In fact, I would dare say that while laboring and toiling all night and catching nothing would and perhaps could have been somewhat normal for these two sets of brothers, it didn’t make it easy. It is undeniable that this particular night wasn’t the only night they had spent upon the open sea letting down their nets into the open waters hoping to catch fish. When Jesus encounters Simon and his brother Andrew, and even James and John, He encounters them in the place of work. What’s more, is that Jesus encountered Simon in what might have been a place of disappointment and frustration in that place of work. The ships were docked at the shore, and the empty nets were now being cleaned, for they had spent an entire night laboring and toiling in order that they might catch fish and bring the catch back to the shore. On this particular night, however, Simon emphatically states and declares unto Jesus that he had spent all night laboring and toiling upon the open sea, and yet had absolutely nothing to show for it. I am convinced that we dare not rush too quickly from this place within Simon’s declaration, for it reveals something truly prophetic in nature for many men and women in our culture and society today. Not only did Simon encounter Jesus in the place of work, not only did Simon encounter Jesus after laboring and toiling all night—perhaps tired and exhausted—but Simon also encountered Jesus after catching nothing and possibly being frustrated and disappointed with the previous night’s performance. Oh, I believe there is a wonderful word that is found and contained within this particular passage of Scripture—namely, a word to those who are finding themselves in a place of disappointment and frustration within the place of their work. I am convinced there are men and women among us today who continue to labor and toil in their places of work, and yet they find themselves coming up empty-handed in that place. There are men and women among us who labor and toil in the place of work, and yet they find themselves being disappointed in the fruit of their labor. What’s more, is that there might even be people among us who are disappointed and frustrated in their place of work, for they have spent a considerable amount of time laboring and toiling in the place of work, and yet feel completely dissatisfied and unfulfilled in their line and place of work. I know there are men and women who right now are in a place of supreme disappointment and frustration in the place of their work, and feel as though they have spent a considerable amount of time laboring and toiling only to come up empty-handed and have nothing to show for it.
I have to admit that this particular writing hits close to home with me, for I am in the very place I am writing about. What’s more, is that I am finding myself facing and experiencing this on two distinct fronts, for on the one hand I feel as though I labored and toiled for four years obtaining a degree in biblical studies and pastoral ministries at a Christian college, and yet I am doing absolutely nothing with the degree I have obtained. Honestly, I couldn’t even tell you where my degree even is right now. I am sure I have it somewhere in my apartment, but I couldn’t even begin to tell you where it actually is. What’s more, is that while it is true that I am employed, and while it is true that I have a job that has fairly decent benefits and pays fairly well, I am finding myself dissatisfied and discontent in the present position I am holding. In fact, I have spent the past couple of months exploring additional opportunities within the company itself, for having worked in my current role and position for eighteen months, I feel as though it is time to move on and engage myself in something different. Right now I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am and have been incredibly frustrated and disappointed with the current job I have. In fact, when people ask me whether or not I like my job, I typically respond my saying that I like the company I work for, but the job itself is something to be desired. I know that for the better part of six months I have been increasingly discontent with my job, and increasingly frustrated and disappointed with where I have invested forty hours a week for nearly two years. I know there are those who would read this who are in the same boat (no pun intended) and same position I am in, and which I have found myself in. In fact, I actually find it kind of humorous and ironic that Scripture uses boats in this particular place, for I know there are many who are in the same boat with Simon. There are men and women who are in the same boat of disappointment as Simon must have been. There are men and women who are in the same boat of discontentment as Simon could have been in. There are men and women who are in the same boat of frustration as Simon might have been in after laboring and toiling all night and coming up empty-handed. There are men and women who are in the same boat of emptiness as Simon was having spent all night laboring and toiling, only to return to the shore with nothing. RETURNING TO THE SHORE EMPTY! RETURNING TO THE SHORE FRUSTRATED! RETURNING TO THE SHORE DISCONTENT! RETURNING TO THE SHORE DISAPPOINTED! RETURNING TO THE SHORE WITH NOTHING!
What I so love and appreciate about this passage is that not only did Jesus find Simon in the place of work, but Jesus also found Simon in the place of disappointment and frustration in the place of work. I absolutely love that Jesus found Simon in the place of work after having labored and toiled and having nothing to show for his effort. Does that describe you? Have you labored and toiled and you feel as though you have nothing to show for your labor and toil? Are you in the place right now where you feel as though you have done everything you can to produce, and yet you are in a place of emptiness within your life? I absolutely love this particular passage of Scripture, for I am convinced that it is in this passage of Scripture where we find a truly remarkable and prophetic word for each and every working person in this generation today. I am convinced that within this passage of Scripture we find a wonderful and powerful prophetic word to and for those who are in a place of secular employment, and aren’t in full-time ministry as we have come to know and understand full-time ministry. Within this passage we don’t find Jesus encountering Simon worshipping in the Temple, nor do we find Jesus encountering Simon giving alms at the Temple which was in the city of Jerusalem. What we find within this passage of Scripture is Jesus finding Simon working and in the place of work, for undoubtedly Simon and his brother Andrew were used to this routine. There were those days when they returned to the shore with a great catch of fish, and in addition to cleaning their nets, they also prepared the fish which they had caught. There were other days—much like this particular day—when they labored and toiled all night, and yet they came up empty-handed and returned to the shore with absolutely nothing. FINDING JESUS IN THE PLACE OF WORK RATHER THAN THE PLACE OF WORSHIP! Simon Peter who would be the spiritual leader of the early church, and the one who preached the sermon on the Day of Pentecost in which three thousand souls were added to the church was not encountered and found by Jesus in the place of worship, nor even in the place of religious works, but in the place of regular and ordinary work. Simon Peter who would be the leading voice for the early church in Jerusalem was not found by Jesus worshipping in the Temple and called by Jesu in and from that place, but was found in the place of work—in the place of secular employment which had absolutely nothing to do with worshipping the living God, nor even following Jesus. What is truly breathtaking about this particular event is that it is true that Jesus encountered Simon in the place of his work, however, there is so much more to this story than that. Jesus did encounter Simon in the place of work, but there are two other factors that make this encounter so much more incredible—namely, that Jesus entered into the boat with Simon, and Jesus spoke unto and instructed Simon. In other words, not only did Jesus enter into that vessel which Simon used for work, but Jesus also spoke unto Simon from within that vessel, and concerning the work he was engaged in.
Oh, there is something drastically different about your work when Jesus not only gets into the boat with you, but Jesus also begins speaking to you from within the boat concerning that work—even if you deem and perceive yourself to be an expert in your current field. Undoubtedly Simon viewed himself as being knowledgeable in his particular field of fishing, and that he wasn’t a novice when it came to fishing upon the waters within the land of Israel. What we find on this particular day, however, was Simon and his brother laboring and toiling all night and yet coming up empty with nothing to show for their work. It would be on this particular day of emptiness, and on this particular day of frustration and disappointment where not only would Jesus show up, but Jesus would get into Simon’s boat, and would speak to him concerning that which he was an expert in. What I find to be so incredibly unique and captivating about this particular passage of Scripture is that there is something completely different about our place of work and even the line of work we are in when Jesus is able to enter into our boat, and is able to speak to us from within the boat concerning our work. Perhaps the single greatest question we must ask ourselves is whether or not Jesus is able to get into our boats within our places of work, and whether or not Jesus is able to speak unto us concerning and pertaining to our work. Within this passage of Scripture we find Jesus encountering Simon in the place of work, we find Jesus entering into Simon’s boat, and we find Jesus speaking unto Simon concerning his line of work and instructing him on what he should do. Luke records how Simon initially declared unto Jesus that he labored all night and have taken nothing, but nevertheless at His word he would let down the net. Luke goes on to record how when they had let down the net, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes, and their net brake. Because the catch of fish was so great and their net break, Simon and his brother Andrew beckoned unto their partners to come and help them with the catch of fish. James and John came to help Simon with this great catch of fish, and so great was the catch that it filled both boats and caused them to begin to sink. Immediately upon seeing the great catch of fish Simon Peter fell down at Jesus’ knees and declared unto Him, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O lord. I love Jesus’ response to Simon, for Jesus didn’t even acknowledge Simon’s mention of being a sinful man, but rather instructed him to fear not. What’s more, is Jesus would go on to declare unto Simon that from that day forward he would catch men. TRANSFORMING A PLACE OF EMPTINESS INTO A PLACE OF ABUNDANCE! TRANSFORMING A PLACE OF DISAPPOINTMENT INTO A PALCE OF ASTONISHMENT!
This particular portion of Scripture is absolutely and incredibly challenging for me, for not only do we find Jesus encountering Simon in the place of work rather than the place of worship, but we find Jesus encountering Simon in a place of empty and lack. What’s more, is that we find Jesus encountering Simon after having labored and toiled all night and having nothing to show for it. This rings loud and clear within my own life, for this is exactly how I feel and have felt for quite some time now—not even just with my current job, but pretty much since I graduated from Bible college. I feel and have felt that I labored and toiled for four years obtaining a degree from a Bible college to help me enter into ministry, and yet I am not doing anything with the degree I obtained. What’s more, is that I have been working jobs where I have felt unfulfilled and dissatisfied. I have spent a considerable amount of time in my current role frustrated and disappointed and looking for ways to get out of what I am doing. I know there is a growing desire within my heart to do that which I am called to do, and to do something that truly matters for and within the kingdom of God. I absolutely love how Jesus encountered Simon in the place of work, and encountered Simon in a place of lack and empty within the place of work. As I am sitting here this morning I can’t help but wonder if I have been expecting Jesus to find me, and have been expecting to encounter Jesus in the place of worship, and yet the place where Jesus truly wants to encounter me is in the place of work. What’s more, is that it was in the place of work where Simon realized and came face to face with his own sinfulness in the presence of Jesus after witnessing the miracle catch of fish. What’s more, is that it was in that place of work where Jesus entered into Simon’s boat, where Jesus spoke to Simon concerning his work, instructed Simon to do something very specific, and where Simon experienced a level of fruitfulness and abundance—such as he had never experienced before. I believe there are men and women who right now are in the same place as Simon was who desperately need to encounter and experience Jesus—not in the place of worship, but rather in the place of work. In fact, I am convinced and would dare say that Jesus can encounter you in the place of work just as much as He can encounter you in the place of worship. What so amazes me about the gospels is that we don’t find Jesus finding any of His disciples in the place of worship, but finding them in the place of work, for He found Simon and Andrew, James and John, and even Matthew in their respected places of work. Jesus would find each of these disciples in their respected places of work and would call them to follow Him. It would be unto Simon Peter Jesus declared that he would catch men.
I am sitting here this morning and I can’t help but get the strong sense that Jesus desires to encounter certain men and women—not in the house and place of worship—but in the place of their work, and wants to get into their boat with them, and speak to them concerning their work. Despite the fact that they have labored and toiled and come up empty, and despite the fact that they might be disappointed, frustrated and discontent with what they are doing and where they are, something drastically changes when Jesus is permitted to get into the boat with you in the place of your work. Tell me dear brother, tell me dear sister—what would happen if you began going to work looking for Jesus to get into your boat? What would it be like if you began going to work and looking for ways for Jesus to speak to you concerning the work and field you are in? What would it be like if Jesus was permitted to enter into your boat, was permitted to speak to you concerning your work, and as a direct result of your obedience to His command and instruction, you experienced a tremendous measure of fruitfulness and abundance? We must recognize that it was in the place of work, it was in the place of emptiness, it was in the place of lack, it was in the place of cleaning nets and docked ships where Jesus not only encountered Simon, but also got into his boat, instructed him to launch out into the deep, and brought Simon into a place of fruitfulness and abundance, as well as into a sacred and holy place in the presence of the living God. What’s more is that it wasn’t in the place of worship where Simon realized his sinfulness in the presence of the Son of God, but it was in the place of work. Furthermore, it was in the place of work where Simon would hear and receive the call to follow Jesus, and where Simon, James and John would bring their ships to land, and would forsake all and follow Jesus. I have a strong feeling that I might be looking for Jesus and might be looking to experience His presence in the place of worship, and yet the place where Jesus seeks to meet and encounter me is in the place of work—in the very place where I have been discontent, frustrated, dissatisfied, and the like. If there is one thing we must take from this particular passage it’s that there might be those times, and there might be those individuals who look for and expect to encounter Jesus in the house of worship, and yet Jesus desires to find and experience them in their place of work, for it’s in the place of work where Jesus can get into their boat with them, and where Jesus can speak to them. It’s from that place of getting into their boat and speaking unto them where they not only experience a supernatural work of heaven, but they also encounter their sinfulness, hear the call to follow Jesus, and where they forsake all and follow Jesus.