When You Come Up Empty


Today’s blog is centered around the second miracle that the Bible records of Jesus. Let me give you a little background. Four of the twelve disciples of Jesus were fishermen. Peter and Andrew were brothers and James and John were brothers. These four guys had a fishing business in northern Israel.


At this point, Peter, James, John and Andrew are not disciples of Jesus yet. They’re just professional businessmen. They make a living catching fish. They’ve been out all night fishing on the Sea of Galilee, and they’ve caught nothing, nada, zero, zip. They’re tired, they’re discouraged. They’ve got empty buckets. Jesus comes along and he’s talking to a crowd and he asks these guys, “Can I use one of your boats as a platform to speak from?”


Luke 5:1-5a One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. 2He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. 3Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon [that’s Simon Peter], its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.” [Remember they had just fished all night.] 5“Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing.


You can hear the discouragement in Simon Peter’s voice. Sometimes this happens in life.  Sometimes you give it your best shot and you still come up short. Sometimes you work hard and you work diligently and you work long and you’ve got nothing to show for it. “We’ve worked all night and we’ve caught nothing.”


Sometimes you hang in there with your marriage and you struggle. Maybe you get some counsel and you read books and you really try to make the thing work, but you don’t see any improvement at all. Sometimes you work at a job; you’ve been responsible, you’ve been faithful, you’ve been diligent. You’ve been a strong, hard working employee.You’ve worked hard all night and you’ve caught nothing. The fact is, this miracle has a lot to teach us because everybody’s fishing for something.  


Sometimes we’re fishing for approval. We’re looking out there and we’re trying to find somebody to just love us. Maybe you’re fishing for security. Maybe you’re fishing for significance. Maybe you’re fishing for a wife or a husband. Nothing wrong with that – unless you’re already married. Maybe you’re out of work and you’re fishing for a job. Everybody’s fishing for something.


This miracle teaches us, what do you do when you come up empty? When you’ve been fishing all night and you don’t see any results from it? This is a very powerful miracle. We need it to understand how to get through times of emptiness. When these fishermen did what Jesus tells them to do in this miracle they not only receive a miracle, but they’re blessed more than they can handle. They actually have to share it with other people. Their lives are changed forever. So Jesus uses Simon Peter’s boat as a platform to preach the good news. Then the Bible tells us the rest of the story.  


Luke 5:4,6-7 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.” [The Bible says that] 6And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! [That’s a lot of fish.]   7A shout for help brought their partners [that’s James and John] in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.


Here’s the point: they caught more in ten minutes than they had caught in ten hours. This is what’s called a miracle of acceleration. Where God speeds up the process. When we understand the principle of the miracle of acceleration, we don’t worry about timing. We may go a month or two months or a year or two years without work. It doesn’t really matter because God can turn on a faucet like that as quickly as one got turned off.

The fact is God can do more in ten minutes in our life than we can do in ten years. If we will do it the way he tells us to do it.




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