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Real Faith Affects Real Obedience

Once when Jesus was preaching at the shore of the sea of Galilee, he stepped into Peter’s fishing boat and asked him to push a little ways from the land (Luke 5:1-6). It wasn’t an odd request from his Lord. After all, Jesus needed to move away from the pressing crowds so that he could better speak and deliver to them the word they wanted and needed to hear. It was his next request that was a bit out of kilter for Peter. When Jesus had finished speaking to the crowds he commanded Peter to take the boat into deeper water and to let down the nets for a catch.

Try to imagine the surprise and confusion that Peter must have felt at the command of his Lord. He had just fished all night in the shallow waters they were floating in and caught nothing. Being a fisherman, Peter knew that the fish that should have been in the shallows during those night time hours would have moved into the deeper waters during the day, and that they would likely be swimming at depths beyond the reach of his nets. The Lord’s command must have seemed like nonsense to him. But Peter recognized the Lordship of his Master, and obeyed what he had commanded him. “At your word, I will let down the nets,” he declared. And when he did, the catch was so large that it required the help of his fellow fisherman, and the weight of their haul nearly sank two boats!

Peter’s faith was genuine and substantial enough to affect obedience, and his obedience demonstrated the miraculous power of a God who has command over the sea and the fish that swim in it. But Peter’s faith and his obedience had another effect. Peter saw a glimpse of the significance of his Lord and recognized his own sinfulness. “Depart from me!” he pleaded from his knees (Luke 5:8). Jesus did not depart. Instead, he told Peter that he would now begin fishing for people. Because Peter obeyed, the history of the world was changed, and a remarkable path of hope was blazed into the future.

The waters may look deep to you. Your reasoning may tell you that the fish are beyond your reach. You may be tired from the fruitless work of the day before. But if God tells you to move to the deep waters, to drop your nets, and to fish, then know that he has a catch of some kind waiting for you. It’s big enough to break nets, sink boats, and demonstrate the power he has to redeem sinful men.

And if you’re wondering whether or not he’s told you to move into the deep waters . . . . well, he has (Matthew 28:19-20).

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