The Bare Soul - November 11, 2012
Trust and Obey

Luke 5:8 - But when Simon Peter saw that, he feell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!'

We all have certain skills which we do better than others. Some of us can create beautiful art work, or others of us have the ability to take a bunch of dried flowers and make a stunning floral display. Others have extraordinary ability in their vocations. Whether it is motivating others in a management position or making a particular product, these often make it look easy. When we look at the disciples and their lives pre-Jesus, they were probably good at what they did. Matthew, for instance, was disliked by the Pharisees which most likely meant he did his job well, extorting taxes from the locals. Yet, when Jesus saw Matthew and told him to follow Him, the scripture tells us he immediately obeyed (Mark 2:14-15). Likewise, with those who fished for a living. In the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) we see the calling of Peter, Andrew, James, and John at the beginning of Jesus' ministry. However, in Luke we are given a bit more detail regarding Peter's call and his response. In the fifth chapter of Luke, the Lord boards Peter's vessel and asks him to row out a distance from the shore so He would not be pressed by the crowd when teaching. After his discourse, he tells Peter to to put out and let down the nets for a catch. Peter tells Jesus how they had fished all night and caught nothing. Nevertheless, he would do as he was told. The extraordinary miracle that resulted is recorded in verse six as Luke tells us "they enclosed a great quantity of fish." In our lead verse, we see the reaction of Simon Peter to this remarkable turn of events.

In this case, the old saying "seeing is believing" is appropriate. The scripture tells us when Peter saw the large catch of fish, that he was struck with a new understanding of this Man from Nazareth. Perhaps he initially scoffed to himself when Jesus told him to cast off and throw out the nets. After all, what did this man know that Peter and his brother Andrew did not? Had they not fished all night and caught nothing? Either out of respect for Jesus or just to prove him wrong, he obeyed the Lord. The outcome of his obedience would forever change this young fisherman's life. Peter fell at the Lord's feet and confessed he was an evil person, and that he could never be friends with someone as holy as this Man. He may have considered, in that split second, that if Christ knew where to fish then He surely knew everything there was to know about himself. This made Peter uncomfortable to the point of conviction where he confessed he was unworthy of the Lord's presence in his life. As Luke records, "when Simon Peter saw that," he was at a crossroads. However, the Lord in His extraordinary kindness told Peter how his past life did not matter. From now on he would enter in to his true vocation.

Does it bring us to our knees when we see "that" for which the Lord has done? Peter's "that" was the Lord's ability to perform the impossible when he and his comrades had toiled all night for nothing. Sometimes, God can reach us best when He shows us our inadequacies in the things in which we think we excel. Peter undoubtedly thought of himself as a "professional" fisherman. There may have been none like the fishing teams of Peter and Andrew or James and John. Yet, this itinerant preacher from Nazareth who grew up miles from Galilee shows up one day on its shores and tells them how to do their job! The first miracle is that Peter conceded to do what the Lord asked. When he surrendered his intellect to Jesus, then the next miracle occurred -- a boat load of fish! But then the greatest miracle of all happened. Peter saw his inadequacy and acknowledged the Lord's ability to do more than he ever thought or imagined.

What are we facing today that we think we can handle alone? We may consider we have gone through troubles before on our own. Why should we trouble the Lord? The reason is obvious from Peter's example. Surrender of our human reasoning allows God to perform great things if we will but obey. We must allow God to interrupt our lives and change the paradigm of our thinking. As we allow our minds to change, our hearts will follow. Our gaze on "that" will determine what we believe, beloved of God. May we all look to Him for He is able to do abundantly beyond anything we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).

Heavenly Father, gracious Lord, cause us to surrender the mental beast on our shoulders to You. Grant us the revelation of Your will on our lives. Please allow us to see "that" miracle like Peter saw which firmly placed him forever on the road of discipleship. Grant us the understanding necessary to see that we are nothing yet You are everything within us. In Jesus Christ's Name we pray, Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

 

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