Treading on Water, Vol 1

Today we are going to read from Luke 5 Where Jesus calls his first disciples, or in other words, followers. 

Jesus was in Galilee. A huge crowd of people had gathered to hear him teach. 

“He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.”

Luke 5:2-3 NIV

“We’re not here for Jesus!”

We see from verse 2 that our soon to be followers we’re not here to listen to Jesus. They had been fishing all night and were now washing nets. They would have been tired and frustrated at not catching anything. Jesus interrupts the process and is an inconvenience to them, at the end of a night shift! He asks them to push the boat back out onto the lake so he can preach. 

Sometimes being obedient to Jesus can be an inconvenience. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense. 

If you think about it, was it even obedience?

Simon and the crew would have heard of Jesus reputation. 

Maybe this is just curiosity?

“Against All Logic”

“When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.””

Luke 5:4 NIV

Once again, an inconvenience. But not just that! This goes against all logic. 

The reason why Simon and his crew were fishing through the night was because the fish hide from the heat of the sun in the day. 

This story takes place in Israel. This is in the Middle East. It gets really, really hot. Find it on Google maps. Context is king.  

The fish would dive down to remain cool at day, then at night would come to the surface to eat. Making Simons’ shout at fishing at night a great idea, and Jesus’ shout at fishing at day a terrible one. 

Remember, Jesus has been preaching all morning, this is most likely to be noon time now. Literally the hottest time of the day. 

“Because you Say so I Will Let Down the Nets”. 

“Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.””

Luke 5:5 NIV

This bit makes me laugh out loud. 

How often is this us? To be honest we all find obedience hard enough as it is. But when we are obedient how often do we remind Jesus that we probably know better. This is me all over…

But.. don’t beat yourself up. 

As far as we can see from the bible, this is the first time Simon has met Jesus. He has no reason to trust him. They have no shared experience together where Jesus has proved himself to Simon. There is no trust there… yet. 

This is the start. 

For many of you Edgefest was your first experience of authentic faith. 

Even if you have had a faith for a long time and grew up in church, anyone going to Encounter is relatively at the start of their life and journey with Jesus. 

Adventures and stories of Jesus coming through is what builds trust and relationship. Going out on a limb and often reluctantly trusting him is a natural part of a growing friendship with him. 

The beauty of this story is that just like us, the fishermen were not giants of the faith. Just curious nobody’s that Jesus uses to do great things. 

“Astonished at the Catch”. 

Lets read on…

“When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signalled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken,”

Luke 5:6-9 NIV

This is the climax of the story. 

Stop and imagine this scene properly, in depth, let’s zoom in. 

Who was it that pulled the first haul in? What was the reaction? Stunned silence or hysterical laughter? The nets began to break the bible tells us. This is a crazy amount of fish, such a ridiculous haul that the boats were nearly sinking. Imagine the chaos on this boat. 

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I can’t help in my own faith to see this scene in my own life at Encounter. It may have seemed like we know what we are doing but so much of what we do as a youth team is trusting God to do something cool and being obedient to the haul he will provide. 

I remember specifically looking around the room at the chaos of God moving. People crying, sitting peacefully, people eyes closed worshipping with hands stretched towards heaven, and the band singing and playing. 

I loved every second. Watching you all fall in love with Jesus is why we do what we do but I couldn’t help feeling fearful. 

Like it it was all so fragile. I felt like anything we did could break what God was doing and we would ruin it all. 

But what is Jesus’ response?

“and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.””

Luke 5:10 NIV

It was so exciting to be a part of, to be so out of our depth but knowing that God had it all in the palm of his hand. He says don’t be afraid. But trust that I will mould your identity and through tiny steps of faith you will see God do crazy things. 

Lets zoom in even more..

“So they signalled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them”. 

A tiny step of faith not only does something for Simon. But overflows onto those around him. You don’t just owe it to yourself to take small steps of faith, but you owe it to all those that it will benefit around you now and those you will meet in the future. 

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“And Followed Him”. 

“So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.”

Luke 5:11 NIV

If you had said to me when I was 16 that my life’s dream would be youth work, I would have laughed, said something cocky and rude, then walked off. I wanted to be a drummer in a band. I wanted to play on massive stages and tour around the world. I was adamant that I was going to do that. Nothing else was good enough. 

But through my friendship with Jesus, he has slowly softened me and showed me that nothing can fulfil me more than what he desires for my life. 

I’m confident in Jesus plan for my life. And I’m more than confident in how he can change the desires of my heart. 

And here is the irony. It’s better than any drumming world tour I could imagine. Handing my future to Jesus has provided me with more stories, more adventure, more joy, deeper heartbreak, bigger twists, more drastic turns, better friendships and a greater marriage than I ever dreamed possible. And it isn’t over yet. 

I think this happened to the fishermen in our story and I believe it can happen for you. 

Read the last bit again..

“So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.”

Luke 5:11 NIV

They’ve just pulled the biggest haul of their lives. They leave it all behind, boats, nets, haul, everything. 

This is their livelihood. How they provide for their children. How they afford to pay for Netflix! 

They gave Jesus the reigns and let him decide their direction. 

Jesus isn’t forceful with them and he isn’t with you. He didn’t say, leave everything and follow me. They chose to and it’s up to you to trust Jesus with your future as well. 

They trusted him with the haul and we should too. 

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Questions to answer:


“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”

Proverbs 16:9 NIV


You are all in an important stage of life where you are deciding which direction your careers will take. How can you include him in this process? 


How open are you to Jesus intervening and changing plans? Even when it is an inconvenience. What can you do to help you release control?


Are you fearful of the future? If so why? How can you let God in and allow him to provide? 


Is there someone you can pray with together about this topic? How can you support those around you that may be struggling?



Resource of the month: The bible project. This is a YouTube channel with excellent content. They break down all sorts of cool topics and stories from the bible with all kinds of clever and engaging animation to help visual people like me. Enjoy!