Saturday 24th February – Luke 5:1-6 ‘Because you say so…’

Luke 5:1-6

I wonder if you’ve had the experience of God asking you to do something surprising?  Something that at the time didn’t make a lot of sense?  I remember Brother Andrew – who passed away recently after a remarkable life of courageous witness – telling the story of once smuggling bibles into the Eastern Bloc and sensing God ask him to leave them uncovered, rather than well hidden.

Sure enough, he was stopped and the policeman opened the boot.  Andrew describes praying this simple prayer under his breath: ‘O Lord, you who made the blind to see, make seeing eyes blind.’ The bibles were there, right in front of the official, but he didn’t ‘see’ them and waved Brother Andrew on his way!  God was teaching Andrew to trust him implicitly. 

Today’s passage takes a similar turn.  There’s no reason for Jesus to get in the boat in order to teach people, so we have to assume that he had another plan in mind – which becomes clear as the story unfolds.  Jesus, who has recently got to know Simon and his family (4:38-39), now has Simon next to him in the boat, and makes a very odd request: ‘Put out into deep water and let down the nets for a catch.’ (v4)

Humanly speaking, this is basically a daft idea – fish only came to the surface at night; during the day, in deep water, they would be near the bottom of the lake and nowhere near the nets.  In other words, Jesus was basically telling a professional fisherman: ‘do something completely pointless which you know will never work!’

Simon’s reply is extraordinary: ‘Because you say so….’ (v5)  In other words: ‘I’m doing this for you, Jesus: I trust you because you’ve already shown me your wisdom and authority.  Even if I’m wrong, I’d rather be wrong trusting you than put my own judgement above yours.’

We know what happens!  Jesus does another astounding miracle (v6), the effects of which we’ll see tomorrow.  But today, let’s just spend some time reflecting on what it means to trust Jesus – especially when trusting seems like the harder thing to do.  Perhaps Jesus has never asked you to do something daft for him: but either way, this story invites us to trust in the Lord, whose ways are higher than our ways, and whose thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Is 55:9).  As this week concludes, may we all choose to place our trust – in every circumstance – in this wise, loving and powerful Lord.