The Boys in the Boat

Isaiah 6:1-8; Luke 5:1-11

Luke 5:1-11

Once while Jesus[a] was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, 2 he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and 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 way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning 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 that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” 11 When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.


Good morning. The title of my sermon comes from a book I read a couple months ago. The Boys in the Boat tells the story of the U.S. Men’s rowing team that competed in the Olympics in Berlin in 1936. This is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I told Eleanor Hargis that I’d read it, and she said, “oh yes, we read that in book club a couple years ago.” So, I know a few of you are familiar with the story.

For those of you who haven’t read the book, or who know nothing about rowing, the boys in this story are the eight oarsmen who row the boat, plus the coxswain who sits in the back of the boat and tells them how fast to row. All of them were college students; they rowed for the University of Washington.