Posted by: glorifyhim1 | February 20, 2012

In the Boat

Recently, my daughter shared a verse that has been on her mind: “So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him” (Luke 5:11). Forsaking all and following Jesus is undoubtedly the true mark of a disciple. But how do we truly do that? What does forsaking all really mean to you and me in our world today? Merriam-Webster defines the word forsake as “to renounce or turn away from entirely.” So does forsaking all mean that we leave home, family, and all that is familiar to us? Could it mean that we step outside of our comfort zones and turn away from that which is comfortable or easy? Or perhaps it is more of a heart kind of thing where we renounce all our earthly desires and focus on the things of Jesus.

 

I think the preceding verses, Luke 5:1-10, can help us better understand what it means to truly forsake all and follow Jesus.

 

This passage tells us that Jesus saw two empty boats standing by the lake, but the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. Jesus climbed into Simon’s boat and asked him to put out from land so that he could teach the people from the boat.

 

After Jesus finished speaking, He told Simon to take the boat out into the deep water and to let down his nets to catch fish. Simon explained to Jesus that they had fished all night and caught nothing, but that he would do what Jesus said. When they let down their nets, they caught so many fish that their nets began to break. They called for the fishermen in the other boat to come help them. They filled both boats with so many fish that the boats began to sink. Immediately, Simon recognized this was a God-thing. Scripture tells us: “When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”

 

Peter and all the other fishermen were amazed at the catch of fish. “And Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men’” (Luke 56:10b). It is at that point that the disciples brought their boats to land, forsook all, and followed Him.

 

From these verses we can discern several important things concerning the disciples’ ultimate decisions to forsake all and follow Jesus.

 

  • Where it began

The decision to follow Jesus began in the boat – before the miraculous catch of fish. Notice that Jesus asked the disciples to do something simple – “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4). If the disciples had not obeyed this simple command, they would have missed out on the miraculous catch of fish. Jesus asked and they obeyed. Where does it begin for you and me? It is wherever we are with whatever we know to do today. We make a conscious decision to follow Him and seek His direction.

 

  • What it required

Simon really didn’t believe that there was any reason to go out into the deep water. After all, they had fished all night to no avail. Yet he did what Jesus asked Him to do anyway. Following Jesus requires our faith. Sometimes our way is not clear and we may have difficulty discerning God’s direction, but we pray in faith believing that He will make His way known to us. And in the meanwhile, we just stay in the boat doing what we know to do. At other times, we may feel clear leading to do something that makes no human sense whatsoever, yet we must put feet to our faith and follow Him where He is leading.

 

  • Who they saw

When Simon saw the miraculous catch of fish, He fell down before Jesus and exclaimed, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” (Luke 5:8). When we come face to face with the awesomeness of our God, we cannot help but fall before Him. Likewise, the more we see and know of God, the more we realize how far we fall short of the glory and goodness of our Lord. Like Simon, we feel totally inadequate and unworthy in His presence.

 

Simon made a decision to follow Jesus while he was still in the boat. He learned from Jesus, obeyed Him, and put his faith in Him. Jesus did the rest. As Simon fell at Jesus’ knees, Jesus tenderly responded: “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men” (Luke 5:10 b). Then the disciples forsook all and followed Him. They had seen the Lord and they had heard His call.

 

Forsaking all and following Jesus can mean different things to each of us. To some it may mean leaving homes and families to live in another place or culture. To others it may mean withstanding ridicule at work or school as they live their lives to honor Jesus. Still others may endure untold suffering or pain in order to reveal Christ to others. The way we are called to follow Jesus is up to Him. The willingness to forsake and follow is up to us. And what makes the difference is what we do while we’re still in the boat. How are you bringing your boat to land?

 

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Responses

  1. “The way we are called to follow Jesus is up to Him. The willingness to forsake and follow is up to us.”
    Thanks for the great reminder. 🙂 Love you!

    • Thanks, Stacy. I think we all need this reminder from time to time. Love you, too!


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