You're Going to Need a Bigger Boat

FPC Bethlehem's "Going Deeper with the Sermon" is designed to give you an opportunity to reflect on the sermons, go a the sermon text a little deeper and apply it to following Christ in the real world.


SPEAKER: The Rev. Dr. Marnie Crumpler
DATE: April 9 & 10, 2016
TEXT: Luke 5:1-11

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. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” 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. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.


Those of us who have children recall their process of learning to walk—tottering steps, tumbles, bruises, and even cuts. Yet, in the end, they all got there and today walking is second nature.

Just as we are created to take steps physically, we’re also created to take steps toward Jesus spiritually. Sometimes the learning to walk spiritually—learning to follow Jesus—can be just as rough-and-tumble as an infant’s first steps.

Jesus said two simple words to the fishermen: “follow me.” Peter knew Jesus, had seen Jesus heal his mother, but here Jesus asks him for complete trust. Leave your nets and come with me to rescue humanity.

Jesus wanted all of Peter and he wants all of you. You’ll find that saying yes to Jesus will bring you much more than you ever imagined—it’s a bargain. It’s an “over the top” adventure. And just as we’re called to follow Jesus, step by step, we’re called to do it together—to follow Jesus in the company of friends.

The next season of our life together will be collectively saying yes to Jesus in new ways, and saying that yes together—in community.


1.    Have you met Jesus or are you hiding from him at present? What keeps you removed from Christ, at a distance?

2.    Peter falls to his knees before Jesus saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man!” (5:8) Consider, what are those things about yourself that you find it difficult to bring into the light before Jesus? Can you prayerfully name them before the Lord as well as your fear of being rebuffed?

3.    For those who have met Jesus, what is the next step that he is asking you to take toward him? What new step of obedience is being placed before you? Prayerfully ask God: what is one thing you would have me do in response to this message?

4.    Does following Jesus obediently scare you? Does an “over the top” mission sound a little too bold for you? Name this before Christ and ask him for his sustaining and emboldening grace.


Lord Jesus, take from us now everything that would hinder the closest communion with God.  Any wish or desire that might hamper us in prayer remove, we pray You.  Any memory of either sorrow or care that might hinder the fixing of our affection wholly on our God, take it away now.  What have we to do with idols any more?  You have seen and observed us.  You know where the difficulty lies.  Help us against it, and may we now come boldly, not in the Holy place alone, but in the Holiest of all, where we should not dare to come if our great Lord had not torn the veil, sprinkled the mercy seat with His own blood, and asked us to enter.
-Charles Spurgeon