Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 1 Study # 2
Thesis: The focus upon Simon reveals Jesus' intention in regeneration: to set men free to live.
Introduction: As we began our study of what is commonly called "The Miraculous Draft of Fishes", we sought to understand Jesus' behavior in light of the words of the text. Since Luke is the only one in the Bible who calls the Sea of Galilee "the Lake of Gennesaret", we looked for a reason. It was my conclusion that he was continuing his "pattern" of telling of John, then of Jesus. In this case, it was the issue of John's requirement of people that they come to the wilderness if they would hear from God. It appears that John was "stage-setting" in the sense that he surrounded the people with a reality (the wilderness) that was a picture of themselves (vipers of the wilderness) so that they would not just "hear" the Word of God, but "sense" it as it surrounded them. In like manner, Luke chooses to show Jesus compelling the people to turn their backs upon Gennesaret and look at Him against the background of the "Lake" if they wanted to "hear" the Word of God. When we see that John introduced Jesus as One Who would baptize with the Holy Spirit or with fire, it is not hard to see that using "lake" (which is only used elsewhere in the New Testament as a deadly reality pointing to the Lake of Fire as the result of being "sinful") sets up the analogy of the baptism with fire, and the reference to Gennesaret is analogous to the baptism of the Holy Spirit as the provision for an abundance of good fruit in the life of one who "hears" the Word of God. I drew these conclusions in light of Simon's reaction as Luke records it here. There has to be a reason that a large catch of fish would turn Peter into a "fearful sinner".
This morning I plan to pursue Luke's record to see what else is here. As I was pondering Luke's words, my attention was arrested by the fact that he tells us that the boat that Jesus used was idle because the man who owned it was "washing his nets". Being of the Luke 16:17 mentality, I could not let that pass. What is sufficiently important about the washing of nets that it needed to be included in the record of the Eternal Word of God? I have come to understand that Luke wanted us to see Jesus in the light of the Revealer of the Grace of God against the backdrop of the Wrath of God and Simon's washing of his nets is a part of that particular picture.
January 28, 2007
- I. The Story as a Whole.
- A. Taken as a whole, the story is about Jesus' summons of Peter.
- 1. The first three verses are "setting", but they deliberately single out "Simon".
- 2. After those introductory verses, the entire story focuses upon Jesus dealing with "Simon".
- 3. At the point of "Simon's" deep humiliation, he is called "Simon Peter" even though it seems a bit premature to bring "Peter" into the record.
- 4. After dealing with "Simon", Jesus tells him what his life work will be and he leaves everything to follow Jesus.
- B. Taken as a whole, the story is about a "sinner" being released from his fears so that he can help others be released from theirs.
- 1. In a sense, this is what the "Word of God" is all about.
- a. Zacharias was presented by Luke as a fear-driven man because of his theology and John was introduced as the solution to that "fear".
- b. Simon is presented as a "fear-driven" man by the words of this text and Jesus is presented as a solution to his fear.
- 2. In this record, the Lake of the Wrath of God is the backdrop which explains the roots of the fears.
- a. According to 1 John 4:18, there is no fear where love dominates.
- b. According to Romans 5:8, the "fear" setting is our sinfulness and the solution is the love of God Who sent Christ to die for that sinfulness.
- c. According to Hebrews 2:15 the fear of Death keeps men in bondage all of their lifetime.
- II. The Focus Upon Simon.
- A. In Luke's first "out of the blue" mention of "Simon", the man is the son-in-law of a woman who is seriously ill and instantaneously healed by Jesus.
- 1. This action by Jesus sparks one of the most phenomenal "healing" events in the entire record of the life of Jesus.
- 2. But, "Simon" is not presented as significantly "overwhelmed" by that as he is in this record.
- B. In Luke's continuing record, "Simon" is presented as a trouble-making blow-hard: Luke 22:24-34.
- 1. Jesus' repetition of "Simon" in 22:31 is significant in light of the context (who started this argument??) and the boastfulness of 22:33.
- a. Simon clearly attempted to present himself as "superior" to his fellows.
- b. Simon, just as clearly, was trying to hide his own reality by the facade of bravery.
- 2. Jesus' switch to "Peter" in 22:34 reminds us of 5:8 where the blow-hard is significantly humiliated.
- III. The Mention of the Washing of the Nets.
- A. One has to wonder two things.
- 1. Why were they doing this?
- 2. Why did Luke tell us they were doing this?
- B. In one's wondering, there are not many places to go.
- 1. There is only one reason they would be "washing their nets": they had been fishing in the shallows.
- a. According to International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (article on "fishing") there were two types of fishing in the sea of Galilee.
- 1) Fishing in the shallows.
- 2) Fishing in the deep.
- b. The only time the nets would get "dirty" enough to require "washing" would be if they had rubbed against slimy fish, or they had been dragged through the mud.
- 1) Since they had not caught anything, "slimy fish" wasn't the reason for the washing.
- 2) That only leaves one other cause.
- c. The question has to be raised as to why they had fished all night in the shallows and why they didn't at least go out into the deep for a couple of efforts which would have at least rinsed out the nets.
- 2. Luke's reason for telling us this has to "fit" his purpose for the paragraph: to record the dealings of Jesus with Simon so that he became one of Jesus' disciples.
- a. The only thing that "fits" is Simon's false bravado.
- 1) It "fits" Simon to be a "Gennesaret-rejecting" fisherman -- wresting his life from the "Lake" instead of receiving it from the "land".
- 2) It "fits" Simon to fish the shallows if he really is "fear-driven" -- this is the safest "bravery" activity.
- b. The reality, then, is that Jesus, seeing right through Simon's facade, loves him anyway and begins to deal with his real need.