Leaving Everything

Luke 5: 1-11

On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(A)”>the lake of Gennesaret, <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”>and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”>washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”>he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”>“Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”And Simon answered, “Master, <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”>we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”>they enclosed a large number of fish, and <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”>their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(I)”>And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(J)”>“Depart from me, for <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(K)”>I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”<span class="footnote" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="[a]”>[a] 11 And when they had brought their boats to land, <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(L)”>they left everything and followed him.


I’ve read this passage a dozen times over. I’ve heard many sermons on it. But when it was preached this last Sunday something caught my attention that I’d never paid much attention to before. It’s found in verse 11:

And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him. emphasis added

Peter, James and John left everything. I’ve brushed past that every time I have read it. But when I read this week…it made me stop and reflect on what “everything” actually meant for them. 

In leaving their father, James and John left their inheritance, their livelihood. They left the responsibility that sons had towards their fathers. 

These three men had just caught probably the biggest catch of their lives. I imagine it would have fetched them a pretty penny when selling time came that day. That could have had endless possibilities for them and their families. Yet they left it. The catch of a lifetime, the money, and the comfort that money would bring. The question we should be asking is “Why?” Really, who would do such a thing for a man you hardly knew?

Wes, the preacher man on North Campus of Revo, pointed something out that I, again, had never noticed. Gotta love it when those preachers do that. 

If we pay attention to the text, we’ll notice that when Peter first addresses Jesus he calls Jesus “Master”. But after the miracle of fish jumpin’ into their nets Peter addresses him as “Lord”. Peter recognized that something miraculous and marvelous had happened in front of him and that it was divine. 

Jesus chose to reveal his divine nature to these men. And in response to that revelation, Peter confesses that he is a sinful man, unworthy to stand in the presence of the one who has revealed himself. 

But here’s where the gospel already begins to present itself. Jesus’ response to Peter’s confession is this: “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” Don’t be afraid that you, a sinful man, are standing before a holy God. Don’t be afraid that because I am holy and you are not that you will die. Don’t be afraid of the judgement that you deserve. It shall not be cast upon you. 

But it gets even better. Jesus revealed himself to these three, and he tells them that now, they are not going to keep that to themselves. No. They are going to go and give that message to others because the gospel is not for us to keep secret but rather something to shout from the rooftops. 

But still, we come back to them having left everything. 

The gospel of Jesus Christ will cost us something, if not everything. You’re kidding yourself if you think it won’t or you believe in a gospel that is watered down so that it can’t cost you anything of real significance. However, the true gospel, the message that Jesus bled and died for, will cost us everything. As it should. He gave everything for me, for you. Shouldn’t I be willing to give it all to him? 

He tells us to pick up our cross. He tells us when we lose our lives for him then we will find it. He teaches us that we cannot love the world and God. We cannot serve two masters. He asks me to give everything to him so that his name can be furthered, can be made known, can be glorified. 

I’ll admit that sometimes I don’t understand why the gospel has to cost me so much. Why does it call me to leave everything? And I understand that your “everything” and my “everything” could be different. I have a friends whose “everything” has been everything they were taught because they were raised in a different religion. I’ve known people whose “everything” meant down-sizing so they could give more of what they had away to people who needed it. But still I ask why does it cost so much? 

The answer I come up with is that if following Jesus didn’t cost me everything, he wouldn’t be worth following. He has saved me. Saved me from hell, from myself, from a life of unfullfillment and pain. He has brought up from the ashes and seated me with the princes. So yes, the gospel is worth every penny of my money, every person I have to say goodbye to, every article of clothing I give to someone, every moment I spend with someone who doesn’t know that love that he gives, and every sacrifice that is made. 

The gospel is worth leaving everything because the one the gospel proclaims left everything for me. 


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