It was a hard, disappointing night spent in exhausting and fruitless labor. The sea would not yield its bounty. It would be time to go home soon. It would be an unpleasant answer when they were asked, “How was work today?” But first, the nets had to be washed and mended. Tonight, the work would begin again.
Out from among those milling about the shore walked the Preacher. He had been causing quite a stir in the synagogues lately. Without hesitation, He walked onto Simon’s boat and asked to be taken a ways from the shore so He could teach the people. Uninvited, He had commandeered a workman’s boat and launched into a sermon. When done, He asked the man to work again: “Let down your nets for a catch.” The reply came: “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net” (Luke 5:4-5, NKJV).
All the hours of fruitless labor were voided. The nets were full to the breaking point.
Simon did not know how much his life and human history would change that day. Simon followed as Jesus preached, healed the sick, cast out demons, opened blinded eyes and gave Jairus his daughter back from the dead. In the years to follow, Simon would be transformed as this preacher from Nazareth commandeered not only his boat, but also his house, his mind, his heart and ultimately, his life.
Simon knew none of this that day on the banks of the Sea of Galilee. All he knew that day was he had nowhere to hide. The Light of the World was shining on him, and he did not like what it revealed. Something broken in Simon cried out to something whole in Jesus: “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” (Luke 5:8).
Luke’s account of the story speaks of them “washing” their nets. Matthew’s account refers to James and John “mending” their nets. The word used for “mend” is also translated as “complete, prepare, restore, to establish, to create and to equip.” Simon did not know it then, but those nets were giving witness to everything Jesus would do in and through him. Jesus would start “washing” and “mending” Simon because he was to be “a fisher of men.”
It is as though God were saying to Simon: “You are broken and worn out. Just as these fishermen are washing and mending their nets, like you have done from your youth, today I am washing and mending you. I will cleanse you. I will heal you. I will restore you. I will complete you. I will establish you. I will equip you. And what you lack I will create in you. This is what I will do in you, and this is what I will do through you.” The purpose of God through our life (to be “fishers of men”) flows out of God’s process in our life (“washing” and “mending”).
Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:11-12 that Christ, “gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” The word used for “equip” is from the same root word as “mend.” The purpose of our ministry is that those under our care will be “complete, prepared, restored, established, and equipped.” We who are “washed” and “mended” now serve others so they too can be “washed” and “mended.”
Jesus calls us unto Himself to be “washed” and “mended;” then He casts us out into a sea of broken humanity with good news of great joy. Today I embrace His calling and His promise, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19).
- Lord, welcome into my heart and mind. Wash and mend me; I am in need today.
- Lord, help me to be a vessel of Your restoring grace in the life of someone today.
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