On The Road – Week 1 Bible Study
Jesus’ mandate was to come to earth and make disciples. A disciple in Greek is a mathetes — where we get our work ‘mathematics’ from. It essentially means ‘to be a learner’. The journey of discipleship is what this series is about – will you go ON THE ROAD with Him?
5 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret,[a] the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. 2 He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signalled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
Some Questions and Reflections:
Please use this as a guide. Feel free to see where the conversation takes you. You may even like to explore some of the themes represented here or in the passage above.
1. What stands out to us on our reading of this passage?
Do we find ourselves struck by the astonishing miracle which takes place in this passage? Upon a first reading, we might linger on verse 6, and note that the miracle was made even greater by the consideration that fishing was normally only done at night.
What do we think about the timing, location, and context of this miracle? What do we think Jesus had in mind when he chose to climb into the boat with the fishermen?
Another point we can reflect on is that it was not Jesus who let down the nets in front of the fishermen. Rather, he gave Peter the instruction, and Peter obeyed.
Could this possibly be giving us a clue regarding Jesus’ method of Discipleship?
2. Now reflect on Peter’s words; “Because you say so, I will…”
What does this teach us about the positioning of Peter’s heart and attitude prior to the miracle? He did not have the benefit of hindsight that we have. We can often read stories like this retrospectively, and fail to note the difficulty of these kinds of acts of obedience.
Have you ever worked hard for something? Have you put in great effort, only to fail, lose, or discover that there is no fruit for all of your hard labour? This was how Peter was feeling after a long night of fishing, and yet, he did as Jesus instructed.
Perhaps Jesus wanted to see how Peter would respond to what was asked of him before he was called into something greater. Could it be that Jesus was testing Peter’s faith in familiar territory before introducing him to a far greater calling?
Can we think of any situations or circumstances in our familiar territories in which we feel we have been asked to ‘let down [our] nets’? Maybe we feel as though God is asking us to trust Him with something now in the midst of exhaustion, confusion or failure. Can we say, “Because you say so, I will…”?
We may characterise this sentence as one of the primary aspects of discipleship.
3. Thankfully, when Peter’s nets began to break, he had his fishing partners close by.
We learn that discipleship does not have to be a lone experience. In fact, Jesus later sent out his disciples two by two.
Sometimes, the path of discipleship may feel difficult and lonely. Do we have other people in our lives who are doing the journey with us? Do we feel as though we can call out to others for help if the load feels too heavy to bear?
4. Reading on, Simon Peter makes a bizarre statement, ‘Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!’
What does this say about Simon Peter’s sudden realisation of who Jesus was?
Then Jesus replies with ‘Do not yield to your fear,’ (TPT) ‘From now on, you will fish for people’, or in another translation it says ‘you will catch men for salvation!’
Here, the word ‘salvation’ in the Greek is zoogreo, a compound word made up of zoos (meaning ‘life’) and agreuo (meaning ‘to catch’).
Jesus calls his disciples to leave behind their familiar livelihood, to take up a new livelihood. The end of the passage says they ‘pulled up their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.’
Do these last few words make us feel uncomfortable? If so, why?
One thing we may see taking place here is a thing called repentance, or in other words, a ‘change of mind’ (metanoia). How might repentance/metanoia lead us from the ‘familiar’ to ‘faith’?
5. Where do we place ourselves in this story?
In this coming week, let us pray into and become familiar with the words, ‘Because you say so, I will…’
Let us ask the Holy Spirit to show us our next step.
Quote for the week
“When He said, ‘Be perfect,’ He meant it. He meant that we must go in for the full treatment. It is hard; but the sort of compromise we are all hankering after is harder – in fact, it is impossible. It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.” – CS Lewis
For the downloadable PDF of this study please click HERE