“When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” Luke 5:4 NKJV
Simon sat beside his fishing boat on the shore of the Lake of Gennesaret, the sun glinting off its calm waters. It had been calm the night before; the conditions had seemed perfect for a large catch. Yet, as the sun came up, they relented, pulled in their nets and headed back to shore with nothing to show for the night’s labor. Nothing but fatigue. Nothing but more cuts and scrapes on already rough, calloused hands. Nothing but frustration. They’d needed a large catch. But fish are elusive creatures at times. Such is our profession, Simon thought, trying to mask his disappointment.
As he meticulously inspected his nets for tears, he noticed a throng approaching the shore. They were pressing into a man – a rabbi –and listening intently to His every word. The Man drew closer, glanced at Simon, and stepped into his boat. “Will you launch out just a bit?” Jesus asked. Simon rowed out as he'd been asked. Jesus sat and began to teach the crowd. When He had finished His discourse, He turned attention back to Simon.
“Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch,” He enjoined.
I can only imagine what Simon Peter was thinking. After all, fishing was his livelihood, his area of expertise, and he knew his profession well — the fish, their habits, the waters. He knew the optimal time for a haul is at night. That's when the fish came to the surface to feed. And based on what he knew to be true, he knew that if they hadn’t caught anything at night, catching anything now—especially in the deep — would be nothing short of a miracle.
Maybe there was something in Jesus' gaze. Maybe it was the authority with which Jesus spoke that moved Simon to act, conflicted as he must have been with what he knew about fish and fishing and what Jesus was commanding him to do in the moment. Maybe part of Simon thought, What does this Man know about fishing? OK. I'll launch out. I'll just do what He asked to prove a point. I’d like to believe a greater part of him wanted to simply respond because he recognized something in Jesus that said He could produce what He had promised.
I'm convinced this is not a great act of faith on Simon’s part. After all, Jesus’ command was “let down your nets.” Simon's response? “I will let down my net” (Luke 5:5 NKJV). But it didn’t matter whether he obeyed with great faith. All that mattered was that he responded to the Word: he launched out and he let down. The results not only astounded him, but all who saw. The catch was more than he could contain and spilled over to bless those with him. Others were able to partake of this treasure.
Simon simply responded to the Word and his life was changed from that moment on.
Listen. Can you Holy Spirit speaking?
Launch out into the deep. Leave the shore, leave the surface, leave the comfortable, leave the known, leave the crowd! Launch out into the depths of God. Don't be content to remain in a place that only allows you to experience the Lord as you always have. Don't be content to remain in the place of familiarity. Don't be content with only a superficial knowledge of God. There is so much more! No matter what your history with God has been, no matter how long you’ve been walking with Him, no matter what glorious things you've seen in the past . . . There Is So Much More!
And it can only be found in the deep.
“Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised And His greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:3)
God’s greatness is inexhaustible. We can never exhaust our knowledge of Him. We can never exhaust our understanding of His Word. We can never exhaust His love, His mercy, His grace. The farther out in the deep we are willing to go, the more we encounter. The more we encounter, the farther out we desire to go.
Launch out into the depths of His love, into the depths of His Truth, into the depths of His glory, His holiness, His grace, His faithfulness, His goodness.
Let down your nets for the catch. In the Greek, the phrase translated “let down” means to let go, to loosen, to relax. There are things we must be willing to loosen our hold on, things we must be willing to let go of. For many of us that may be our need for certainty. Relinquishing our sense of control. It may mean surrendering what we think we know about God, about ourselves, about our circumstances based on past experiences. Had Peter held on to the experience of the previous night, he would have remained on shore, cleaning his nets – maybe for the rest of his life. He would have missed the treasure of fish; those connected to him would have missed the blessing. He may have never known the joy of being a fisher of men.
What treasures await you in the deep? In what ways does God want to WOW you and those connected to you, what greater purpose and destiny may be revealed, in what new ways will you see the Lord, if you are only willing and courageous enough to launch out into the depth, let down your “nets,” loosen your grip and relax into Him?
Listen. Do you hear Him speaking? My Child, launch out in the depth of Me, let down your nets and be astonished!