The Story of Broken Things

Sermon by Rev Dr Malcolm Tan

28 June 2020


Notes by Anita Fam


Key verses: Luke 5: 1-11


Photo by George Hodan, CC0 Public Domain



There are different facets of Jesus’ ministry being carried out here.

First, there was His public ministry where He proclaimed God’s word from Simon’s boat.

Secondly, He had a practical ministry where Jesus met the real practical needs of Simon and his friends.

Thirdly, He had a personal ministry where He ministered to Simon. See v. 8-11


The public ministry of Jesus

⁃ See v. 1-3

⁃ The Lake of Gennesaret is also called the Sea of Galilee/Sea of Tiberius.

⁃ Jesus was teaching the multitudes before He got in the boat. When He saw the boats, He moved towards them as He saw a better place to do His ministry.

⁃ He taught the Word of God wherever the people were. He moved to the boats where it was more convenient and more effective.


The practical ministry of Jesus

⁃ See v. 4-5

⁃ Jesus gave an instruction to Simon to let down the nets in deep water for a catch. This went against all human expectation as they had caught nothing the night before. But Simon obeyed because Jesus had instructed him.

⁃ Here we see the swing of human feeling. From quiet disappointment when there was no catch after a whole night of working to one of abundance. Here we see God’s provision amidst discouragement. Their abundance which came from obedience.

⁃ There is time for everything under the heavens. There is a time for spiritual ministry as well as practical physical provision. Jesus fed their souls as well as their bodies.


The personal ministry of Jesus

⁃ See v. 8-11 where Jesus deals with the souls of Simon Peter.


The Story of Broken Things

First, the Broken Net.

⁃ See v. 6

⁃ The abundance of God’s provision after a season of barrenness of failure and effort.

⁃ Simon Peter could recognise that this was a supernatural occurrence, a moment of divine invasion  of God’s into his life story.


Second, the Broken Man.

⁃ See v. 8

⁃ Simon recognised that he was not worthy to be in Jesus’ presence.

⁃ This was an act of divine humbling in Jesus’ presence.

⁃ There are two kinds of breaking. One is that of the breaking of the person and the other is the breaking of our hearts where God humbles, then redeems and rebuilds us.

⁃ This was the progression of the work of God in Simon Peter’s soul.

⁃ See v. 3 where Jesus gave Simon instructions and Simon was willing to follow those instructions and be an instrument of God.

⁃ See v. 5. Simon was also willing to take a risk to follow Jesus’ instructions.

⁃ See v. 8. Simon Peter came under the conviction of sin and recognised his unworthiness before Jesus. See Psalm 51: 16-17 and James 4: 6-10.

⁃ May we not resist the working of the Holy Spirit as He humbles us and brings us to a place before God.


Third, a Broken Business Partnership.

⁃ See v. 9-10a

⁃ There was a partnership between Simon and his brother Andrew and the two Zebedee brothers, James and John.

⁃ They saw the power and provision of Jesus Christ that day but they also saw the challenge of Jesus Christ to follow Him that day. See v. 10b-11.

⁃ Jesus came and gave them something better to do that day, ie, a life of higher purpose and better calling.


With the Reformation, the concept of the life and vocation of a Christian changed.

⁃ We can now be servant of God in whatever we do so long as we do it well for the glory of God.

⁃ See 1 Corinthians 10:31. We need not be in full-time ministry to do so.


But that is not enough. With the 18th century evangelical revival, 19th century world revival and the disciple movement of the 20th century, we also need to have a commitment to the Great Commission. 

⁃ The Great Commission is of greatest priority today. Jesus’ last command is our first  concern.

⁃ In this church age, it is most important that we share the gospel with others. And we can do so no matter what our daily vocations are.

⁃ We need to be a Great Commission church.

⁃ It is too late to fulfill the Great Commission once the church age is over.


In the Covid-19 age, how can our church be relevant?

⁃ May our church serve God with these different facets of public, practical and personal ministry so that we can touch the hearts of the multitudes.

⁃ We need to allow God to do a deeper work in our hearts during this quiet time. The interior work of our soul is very important and can not be taken for granted.

⁃ We need to save souls during this church age. We need to be a soul-saving church.


Emil Brunner said:

“The Church  exists by mission just as the fire exists by burning.”

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