The arrival of Jesus on earth signified the coming of a kingdom that was radically different from the existing world order.
When Jesus began his public ministry he said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news” (Mark 1.15).
God’s kingdom is good news, because it is characterized by justice, truth, righteousness, inclusion, fairness, and love. As the King of the kingdom, Jesus’ actions are what people can expect when they start living as citizens of his kingdom.
The King’s Cabinet
I use the term “cabinet” to describe Jesus’ followers, because we tend to compartmentalize “discipleship” as something religious but not connected to the so-called “real” world.
Jesus made it clear that he was the King of a kingdom, but it was not like the governments of this world. When asked about being a king by Pilate, he said:
“My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” (John 18.16).
The followers we read about in Luke 5 did not add a relationship with Jesus as an additional bonus to an already good life.
They recognized the royal authority of Jesus and changed the course of their lives. They didn’t know that they would become the founding members of God’s government on earth, but they were willing to follow Jesus wherever he led.
How An Ordinary Day Became Extraordinary
The day began like any other. Luke described the events.
— Luke 5.1-3 – Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God,
He saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets.
He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
An ordinary day of fishing and preparing nets for the next day was interrupted by the presence of Jesus. People wanted to hear the preacher and healer who was traveling through Galilee and crowds pressed in to listen to him.
When he finished speaking Jesus said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”
Simon was a professional fisherman and Jesus was a carpenter.
Simon replied to Jesus, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets” (Luke 5.4-5).
Simon recognized Jesus’ authority, called him Master, and followed his directions. He knew that if Jesus is King over all, he is to be followed in all areas, including fishing.
Simon may have reluctantly obeyed the Master, but he had no idea of what was about to happen.
— Luke 5.6-7 – When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break.
So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink.
After a night of fishing with no success, Simon and his partners landed the biggest catch of their entire career.
Simon was overwhelmed with the majesty and dignity of Jesus. He fell down in awe and said, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” (Luke 5.8).
Like John the Baptist, who said he was not worthy to touch the laces of Jesus’ sandals, John recognized his complete unworthiness to associate with the Master.
Jesus chose this moment to call Simon, James and John to participate in the government of his kingdom.
He said, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people” (Luke 5.10).
Different from earthly governments, Jesus didn’t give them a chariot, a corner office with a view, and servants to carry out their orders.
They would learn from their Master that they would “catch” people for the kingdom of God by serving them in love.
One of my pastor friends humorously described his congregation and said, “They want a little bit of religion, like a dab of cologne or perfume.”
These men chose to be “all in” with Jesus. Luke tell us that they left everything and followed Jesus (Luke 5.11).
Our Participation in the Kingdom
Jesus came to baptize or immerse people in the Holy Spirit. A spiritual person is someone who is empowered and directed by the Spirit of God.
Just as Simon followed Jesus’ words about fishing, spiritual person follows the guidance of the Spirit in all aspects of their lives.
— When a decision need to be made at work, they consult the Counselor (the Holy Spirit).
— When someone irritates them at work or in traffic, they ask the Spirit for the power to respond properly.
— When they are surrounded by family or friends, they ask the Spirit to produce his fruit of love, joy, peace, etc. (Galatians 5.22-23) in their lives.
The Holy Spirit is to believers today the same as Jesus was to his followers in the first century. The Spirit will enable us to live in the reality of the kingdom of God.
Rudy Ross and I had a great conversation centered around the truths of this passage. Please listen in on our visit by watching the Bob Spradling YouTube channel on this passage.
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