Help Us Help Others

Help Us Help Others
Chaplaincy Clark County

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Will you follow Jesus?

Good morning,
I pray that the day is finding you well.

I have been thinking about Peter lately, well really Jesus and Peter. I have been thinking how Peter responded to hearing the word and witnessing a miracle. I have been thinking about a lake, a crowd, some fish, a couple of boats, and four guys off to the side.

I have been thinking about Luke 5:1-11.

Luke 5:1-11 NIV Luke 5:1 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, {1 That is, Sea of Galilee} with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God,
So here we have Jesus standing on the shore of the Sea of Galilee and He is preaching the word of God. And the people are crowding around Him listening. The crowd is pushing Jesus closer and closer to the water.

2 he saw at the water's edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets.
What is interesting at this point is that while there is a great crowd around Him, Peter (called Simon) his brother Andrew are not part of the crowd. They are off to the side a little bit washing and fixing their nets. They are listening but going about their work as they do so.

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.
Jesus seeing that the crowd is pressing in on Him and pushing Him closer to the water sees a boat that is right there and calls to its owner, Simon, to take his boat and push it out a little from the shore. Now here we have Simon, not part of the main crowd sitting off to the side washing his nets. Jesus calls to him and asks him to stop what he is doing and man the boat for Him. I can just imagine Peter at this point. He is washing his nets, why? Because he has been fishing all night and he is at the end of his day and this Jesus guy requests that he stop what he is doing and come help Him. I can see Peter, who we all know had a bit of a temper, being just a little put off by this. I can imagine the following conversation between Jesus, Peter and Andrew. It would go something like this:
Jesus, looking toward Peter and Andrew: Hey is this your boat?
Peter: Yea, that’s my boat.
Jesus: Can you put your boat out a little from shore so I don’t get pushed into the sea by all these people?
Peter, thinking to himself: Doesn’t this guy see I’m busy? Do I look like I am just sitting here? I am working on my nets.
Peter to Andrew: Can you believe this guy?
Andrew: Peter haven’t you been listening to what He has been saying? Go put your boat out a little so we can listen to Him some more.
What is really cool here is that when Jesus gets into the boat and Peter puts it out a little from shore, Jesus has just made a pulpit to preach from.

4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water, and let down {4 The Greek verb is plural.} the nets for a catch." 5 Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything.
Now this is a really fun conversation. Here we have Jesus telling Peter to go get his nets that he just got done fixing and cleaning, which by the way is quite a chore, take them and put them back into the water and fish. I can imagine Peter’s thoughts:
I don’t know what this guy is thinking? We have been fishing all night long and haven’t caught a thing. Do you know why we have been fishing all night long? Because that is when you catch fish! If you could catch them during the day I would be out fishing right now! Now this guy wants me to go put my nets out, which by the way I will have to clean again when we get done, not catching anything. Aren’t you a carpenter? What do you know about catching fish? I’m the expert here! Geez!! But you are saying some really amazing things, teaching what I have not heard before so I will go ahead and create all this extra work for myself just so you can prove whatever point is that you are trying to prove.
So Peter says: 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.
Can you imagine Peter’s surprise? Here he complies with Jesus’ request knowing all along that it will be a futile effort only to throw his nets over the side and have a catch of a lifetime. They never had a catch like that before. The catch was so huge that the nets began to break. The catch was so huge that they had to signal to the other boat and have them come help. The catch was so huge that they not only filled Peter’s boat but their partner’s boat as well. The catch was so huge that they not only filled both boats but filled them to the point of sinking. This is a huge catch!
I can imagine Peters thoughts as he did this.
Jesus: Throw you nets right here.
Peter, thinking: I have been fishing here all night and not one fish. Ok, I will.
Peter, saying to Jesus: I’ll throw my net here because you say so but I’m telling you there aren’t any fish here.
Jesus: smiles!
The nets begin to fill rapidly.
Peter: What the heck? Oh my gosh, look at all these fish! How did He know? They just keep coming, the nets are overfull, I think they are going to break! Hey James, John, come help me, the nets are breaking! I have never seen so many fish in my life!
Can you imagine the chaos?
These fishermen struggling with the nets. pulling nets, grabbing fish. The boats start filling up and becoming “overfull.” If you close your eyes you can see in your minds eye the excitement, men yelling and screaming, “Pull here, grab that one. My boats overfull put them in your boat. My boat is overfull to, we are starting to sink from all these fish.

8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus' knees and said, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!"
Why did I think that Peter had doubts? Why did I think that Peter was just going along with this fishing scheme and not believing it would come true? Because when it did come true Peter fell to his knees and said, “Go away from me Lord; I am a sinful man.” Peter’s earlier thoughts betray him at this point and he is on his knees totally convicted of what he thought. He is on his knees, because now he knows he is in the presence of the Lord.

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.
Not only was Peter amazed and convicted but so were James and John.

Then Jesus said to Simon, "Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men." 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
Jesus simply says to Peter, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.” Peter, I am sure, doesn’t understand what Jesus is talking about but he does an amazing thing. He along with Andrew, James and John simply pull their boats up on the shore and leave everything. They left their boats, the nets that just a little while ago they were so dutifully cleaning and fixing, they left the greatest catch of fish that they ever caught and simply walked away.
They left everything, and followed Him.

When confronted with the miracle of the catch Peter, Andrew, James and John left their old lives and everything that they understood about their old lives and followed Jesus.
When we look at this text we must not forget that first they listened to His words; second they responded to His words before they even had an inkling of what would happen; third when they witnessed the miracle they didn’t try to rationalize it or somehow take credit for it. No, they saw it for what it was and were forever changed. We have been confronted with Christ in our lives. We have witnessed many miracles. The question is have we tried to rationalize these miracles, make them into something man has accomplished or will we be like Peter and simply see these miracles of Christ for what they are, miracles. And allow them to forever change us.
Will we leave all of our old stuff behind, just laying wherever we left it, and follow Christ?

Something to think about.

Blessings,

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