Act Medium - Bible Study

by Eric Wright and Stephanie Thomas on

Bible Studies 1 document
1 Peter 5:1–7

  • Act Medium | The Scrolls | June 2, 2024

    Copyright Central Bible Church

The Scrolls is a weekly Bible study written by pastors and other leaders at Central Bible Church, based on that week’s sermon topic. Use The Scrolls as a personal Bible study tool, for family devotions, and for small group discussions. You can read part of it below. The downloadable PDF also includes discussion questions, more in-depth commentary, end notes, and a kids’ page designed for families to study the topic together. This lesson goes with the sermon "Act Medium."

Peter was a fisherman (Mark 1:16; John 21:3). Peter was well acquainted with the routines of net management, boatmanship, fish counting and all things aquatic. Simon bar Jonah understood intimately everything involved with fish. A successful career in fish mongering did not happen by accident. Hard work was the only way to secure a harvest from the sea.

Fishermen are rarely humble. Bragging about the size or amount of fish caught is a badge of self achievement. Fishermen pride themselves in expertise knowledge of lures, fish migration patterns and bait. An accomplished fisherman is one who expertly knows where the fish are, what they are biting on, and how to successfully move them from water to shore. Novices can get lucky, but seasoned fisherman know and use all the tricks of the trade.

As a career fisherman, Peter would be well acquainted with the art of “casting.” Whether it was casting nets from the shore (Mk 1:16) or casting nets from a boat (Jn 21:6) or even casting a single line in the water (Mt 17:27), Peter knew his way around getting nets and hooks near fish. Curiously when Peter speaks of “casting” in 1 Peter 5:7, he uses a word, not about skillfully throwing a net, but rather a word that has to do with releasing control. “Casting” in 1 Peter 5:7 has to do with “throwing down” or “throwing upon” in a way that releases ownership or control (see Lk 19:35). “Cast all your anxieties” is not a fisherman’s cast. A fisherman does not let go of his net. “Casting all our anxieties” is about letting God have control and trusting that he will produce the effect of care and accomplishment. This “casting away” or “casting down” is an act of supreme humility.

When using a fishing pole, one can fish with a lure or with a bobber. “Spin-cast fishing” involves casting the lure into an optimum location and then reeling or spinning the lure. Fishermen become experts in reeling and manipulating the lure in “realistic” manners so as to “mesmerize” fish into striking. Hours of YouTube videos are dedicated to such expert techniques.

And then there is “bobber fishing.” This is the technique of attaching a hook with bait to a floating bobber. Once the bobber is cast, the fisherman waits for the fish to “take the bait.” There is little technique in “bobber fishing.” Many fishermen think such fishing beneath them. A fisherman will admit, though, if fish are not biting, “bobber fishing” may be the best way to fish.

When it comes to trusting God, we may do better to “bobber cast” than “spin cast.” Often we bring our needs to God and want to figure out a technique or a method to manipulate God into moving on our need. We try to pray just the right prayer, do just the right service to impress God. God is not moved with such lures. Instead, if we cast our needs upon God and wait for him to move, we are humbly letting go and placing upon him our anxieties and needs.

In Luke 5, Jesus got into Peter’s boat. Jesus asked Peter to go out into the deeper water during the day and “let down” his nets to catch some fish. Peter obliged Jesus’ request, but this was not how veteran fishermen typically fished. Peter told Jesus he had already worked hard the night before and caught nothing (Lk 5:5). Peter had expertly cast his nets and obtained nothing from his effort. And now Jesus wanted Peter to “let down” his nets. Not “cast” or “throw” his nets, but merely “let them down.” Peter most likely rolled his eyes at such a landlubber request. But to his credit, Peter humored Jesus’ simplistic desire. And the joke quickly turned on Peter! By doing what Jesus wanted, even though it did not fit with typical fisherman convention, Peter experienced a catch so large that it began to shred his nets and sink his boat. Casting and luring fish in his own efforts got Peter nothing. Trusting in Jesus and letting go of his own expertise resulted in the catch of Peter’s life.

Humbly trusting in Jesus by letting go of our nervous anxieties and need for control may be just what is needed to rescue us from a time of persecution or a place of self-sufficiency. Trusting the mighty hand of God to exalt us may mean we have to let go of the lines that we think we control. Watching a bobber may catch more than spinning a lure.           

Central Message of the Text: 

Even in the midst of suffering, live out a shared humility as the flock of God with leaders leading as good examples of the Chief Shepherd and followers submitting to their church leaders, all trusting God completely, knowing God cares deeply for his flock.

Family Talk:

Stop for a minute and think of someone who has led you well. What did they do, or not do, that made them a leader worth following? Did they yell at you when you made mistakes? Did they lecture you until they were blue in the face? Did they say one thing but do another? Did they ignore you and let you flounder? Probably not. Most likely, they were patient. I bet they were available and gently walked you through problem solving. Chances are they led by example so you never questioned their motives or integrity. If I had to guess, they were intentional with you, celebrating with you or standing close by allowing you opportunities to safely make mistakes and learn from them. I’ve had a few good bosses that humbly projected these characteristics and I would have worked for them forever. I wanted to be like them. But for some reason, I didn’t emulate these characteristics at home with my kids. When they were young, I lost my temper, became frustrated, and didn’t want to take the time to lead well. Over time, God changed my heart, attitude and actions. I became more patient and loving. I led with gentleness and respect for my children. I intentionally rejoiced and cried alongside them. What was the catalyst of change? Growth in my relationship with the Lord. The more time I spent in His Word, the more I began to change. Through prayer, I was able to put off my old ways and take on the new self He offers. Are you the parent you want to be? Ask God now to help you change!