"I FAILED, NOW WHAT?!" Let's Discuss Starting Over after Failure (Luke 5:1-11)

How many of you can recall a time where you have had what you would consider an EPIC FAILURE? I’ve got a few of those.


I’m going to spend some time today in the book of Matthew where we learn about how God specifically uses failure to set us up for the plans that he has established for us!


In this story we learn about the importance of context, of our perspectives and most importantly, how God works all things together for our good.


Let’s dive right in. If you'd prefer to watch the video rather than read, here you go! If you'd prefer to keep reading, go ahead and continue down below!


So, back to epic fails.


I can remember one of the times when we moved and as the movers were finishing up and heading out of our house one of them said “Enjoy your new home!” – and of course my immediate response was.. “Thanks! You too!”


You’ve been there right. #footinmouth


I remember another epic fail moment that was a bit more significant. I was in my early twenties and I had the opportunity to interview with Home Depot to be a Kitchen Designer. I was working in construction at the time and was super excited about the opportunity to get this job.


So the day of my interview I made sure I left the jobsite with plenty of time to get cleaned up and over to The Home Depot for my interview. I gave myself so much time in fact, that I arrived at the store 45 minutes early. That wasn’t the fail.


The fail was that I decided because I had so much time that it would be a good idea to take a 20-minute power nap prior to going in. NOT a good idea. And I’m sure you can guess what happened.


Yep. Somehow I slept straight through my alarm and woke up an hour later! Now I was 15 minutes LATE.


Of course, in a complete panic, I fly out of my truck and in to the store praying that I hadn’t just ruined my shot at getting this job. I rushed up to the service desk, told them I was there for an interview and they directed me back to the training room.


When I got back to the training room, to my surprise, no one was there! So I sat down and waited for about 5 minutes until the hiring manager walked and an immediately apologized for “making me wait!” Lol! Tragedy averted!!


I crushed the interview and got the job, praise the Lord, but those aren’t the kind of fails that we’re going to talk about today.


Today were going to talked about those times where you feel like you’ve failed so bad, there’s no recovering from it. How many of you have had some of those?


KEY POINT: We serve a God that specializes in bringing the dead to life. We serve a God that specializes in restoring the places that the enemy has stolen. We serve a God who makes all things new.


We’re going to spend some time today in gospels of Jesus.


There are 4 gospels of Jesus (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and what’s always been interesting to me is the different perspectives that each of 4 gospels are written from


For example Matthew, is what I feel like is the “reader’s digest” version. For me, it’s like Matthew is talking to people who grew up in the church, people who know the stories so they get the summarized version.


Like imagine telling the story of David and Goliath to someone who’s heard the story a million times vs someone who as never heard it before.


To the person who knows the story you can basically just give them the highlights. But for the person who’s never heard it before, you need to give them a lot of substance for them to truly capture the gravity of the story.


To truly understand the story and the context, you need the details right?


KEY POINT: Our God works in the details. You may only be seeing what feels like the big picture today, but God is working behind the scenes in your life, looking for ways to show himself strong. Romans 8:28 says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”


So let me share a couple blocks of scripture with you. Then we’ll have some discussion around it:


Matthew 4:18-22 (NIV) - This is where Jesus Calls His First Disciples

18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,”Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”20 At once they left their nets and followed him.


21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.


Seems a little crazy right? Some guy just walks up and says “drop your nets, come on and follow me and let’s go fish for people” and they’re like.. “Ok!” Then James and John are like “Right on!” and we’ll leave our father behind in the process. Seems like there are some details missing right?


Now lets look at Luke 5:1-11(NIV)

1 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, 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 signaled 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.


Matthew tells us a story, Luke tells us the WHOLE story. Let’s break down what we learned here.


Verse 1: “The people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God.” (He didn’t just stop by and call out to the fishermen)


Verse 2: He saw 2 boats left by the water’s edge by the fishermen who were watching their nets (The men weren’t at the boats, they were washing their nets)


Let’s pause here for a second. I am not a fisherman. There’s a lot of things that I am good at but fishing isn’t one of them. If you actually get me out fishing, I’m the type that kind of hopes I don’t catch a fish because then what the heck am I going to do with this thing once I’ve caught it! Lol!


But for the sake of this conversation I wanted to understand the full picture of what fishing was like for the men in this story so I Googled fishing with nets.


These men would go out at night because the water was cooler and the fish come to the surface to feed. This isn’t deep see fishing, it’s surface fishing. They throw out their nets and haul the fish in. However, when they throw out their nets, they also haul in seaweed, algae, you know all the STUFF in the water that they really didn’t want to catch. There’s a pair of sunglasses in there, a beer can.. Lol


So after fishing ALL NIGHT you can imagine how filthy their nets are. In the morning, after having FISHED ALL NIGHT, now they have to clean their nets, get all of the garbage and gunk off of them, and hang them up to dry so they’re ready to go again the next night. They also had to fix any tears in the net from getting hung up on debris in the water.


What we’re going to find out later in the story, is that these fishermen were cleaning nets.. that NOTHING WAS CAUGHT IN the night before. This hit me like a punch in the gut when I read it.. because I’ve been there. Have you?


Where you’ve working so hard, going round after round after round, and you find yourself right back where you’ve started. Where you’ve tried time after time after time and you’ve given it everything you’ve got.. and you still fail. Where you’ve done live after live or listened to podcast after podcast or read book after book or made call after call.. while everyone else around you seems to be thriving.. but you just can’t seem to get your breakthrough.




“Justin I want to be where you are” – from an outsider’s perspective it would look like my business grew fast and I was able to find success very quickly and quite steadily. But behind that visual is all the things that you didn’t see.


No one told me how hard starting a business really is. No one told me how hard it can be on your marriage. No one told me how hard it can be on your health. No one told me that starting a business was going to test my strength and resolve as a man and provider for my family on the highest level.


Details matter. Context matters. I set all that up because I want us to get a really clear picture of how Simon Peter was feeling in this moment in this story. He’s cleaning his nets, after working an entire night catching nothing.


That meant he had to go home and tell his wife they didn’t have any money, or tell his kids they didn’t have any food. And I wonder HOW MANY nights he had gone out, and fished, and lost, and cleaned nets, and fished, and lost, and clean nets, over and over and over.. until he felt like an epic failure.


Look at Verse 3-4 and Imagine how Simon is feeling. I imagine him saying “Lord, we’ve tried. You have no idea. Seriously we JUST finished cleaning our nets! I’m tired, I’m ready to go home, I can’t do this any more today”


ALSO keep in mind that this is the middle of the day! Fishermen fish at night!


Additionally, think about the thoughts that we wrestle with when we experience failure. There’s usually way more going on in our minds than what we actually verbalize. Imagine Simon Peter thinking “Jesus in case you haven’t noticed, you’ve drawn a bit of a crowd here. These people are going to think I’m an absolute fool casting my net in the middle of the day. We’re not going to catch anything!”


Simon’s WORLDLY KNOWLEDGE would tell him that there’s no fish at the surface, and they’ve all gone back down deep to the cooler water. BUT GOD’S WAYS ARE NOT OUR WAYS.. AND HIS WAYS ARE SO MUCH BETTER!..


but often, if not always, his ways can make absolutely NO. SENSE.


But the thing is, when you’ve reached the bottom, when you’re at you’re lowest point, all you have left to do is look up. Simon had nothing else to lose.


Now let’s park here for a second because I want to bring something to your attention.


Imagine if he had been successfully catching loads of fish night after night after night prior to meeting Jesus this day. He wouldn’t have been working with empty nets at that point he would have been working with a bucket full of excuses. At that point he would have likely been saying “We’ve got to get these fish to market, we’ve got to collect our dues, I need to get home to my family and buy groceries.” Do you see that?


So the question is.. What does the Lord really have to take you through to get your full and undivided attention?


Simon’s failure brought him to his knees where all he could do was give Jesus his yes, because he didn’t have any other option. You don’t give Jesus a yes like that if you’ve had any level of success doing it on your own. That kind of yes comes from a bucket of failure.


There’s a great quote by Charles Spurgeon that says “Whenever God means to make a man great, he often breaks him in to pieces first.”


Imagine if Simon could have gotten a vision for what his future was going to look like from that point on at Jesus’ side. All the miracles, all the breakthroughs, how powerfully Jesus would use Simon Peter to change countless lives. How he would be forever known by the entire world and through the gospels as an incredible man of God.


This was his moment. This was his setup


Turning this back to us, I wonder how many times we have prayed and prayed and prayed for something.. prayed for the Lord to fill our nets when we cast them out tonight.. and the Lord says “I have a plan for you child, if I fill your nets tonight it will blind you from seeing what I have prepared for you tomorrow. I need you to go through this, I need you to experience this, because it’s the only way you’re going to be able to fully comprehend who I am and what I’m doing in your life.


You’ve have to endure this pain for a season, so you can see me as your healer. You have to experience this difficulty, so you can see me as you deliverer. Whatever it is for you, imagine the Lord telling you “my child, you have to experience _______________, so you can see me as your _______________.”


Let’s wrap this up by reading verses 6-11 once again.

6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled 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.


Failure isn’t your end.. it’s your starting point. All it requires is your yes.


Remember that we serve a God that specializes in bringing the dead to life. We serve a God of restoring the places that the enemy has stolen. We serve a God who makes all things new.

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