Changing Majors

Posted: July 31, 2016 in Luke, Uncategorized

Luke 5:1-11, “Changing Majors”

Every college student knows what it’s like to change majors.  Or at least those who were like me do. 🙂  When I was an undergrad, I changed my major three times.  Each time was like starting over in many ways.  Because the fields were so different, the various curriculums required that I take a different math and science for each one.  As you might imagine, changing majors was not a decision to take lightly, nor did I want to do it more often than necessary.

For Simon Peter and his partners, they were not at a university, but they were about to become students in the most prestigious and exclusive seminary in history.  Yet it meant changing majors.  No doubt there was some overlap – they would no longer fish for fish; they would fish for me.  Yet in many ways it was like starting over.  They needed to leave everything behind in order to follow Jesus.

But the sacrifice was worth it.  When it comes to Jesus, it always is.

In regards to Luke’s gospel, Dr. Luke has shown how God publicly affirmed Jesus at His baptism, and the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  Upon His return, His ministry officially began, and Jesus announced His fulfillment of Messianic prophecy in His hometown synagogue in Nazareth.  The people there initially rejected Him, but Jesus remained in Galilee where the rest of the people were amazed.  Luke describes one particular day in Capernaum as an example of a typical day in the life of Jesus.  He taught with authority, demonstrated His right to teach in such a way by demonstrating divine power, and the multitudes turned out in droves to see Him for themselves.  As much as there was to do in Capernaum, Jesus couldn’t stay there forever.  After all, He hadn’t come simply to perform miracles – He came to preach the gospel of the kingdom.  The only way others would hear of it is if Jesus went to them, and that is exactly what He did.

That was Luke’s overview of the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.  What happens next?  He has to call co-laborers to come beside Him, and that’s where the narrative picks up with Simon Peter and his friends.  There was indeed much to do & many who needed to hear the gospel – and Jesus would be around forever in order for them to hear.  Other people needed to be trained up to do what Jesus was doing: fishing for the souls of men and women.  Who better to call than a bunch of fishermen?

As we’ll see, Simon Peter believed himself to be thoroughly unqualified – as would any of us.  And we would all be right.  But it’s not what we’ve done that qualifies us to be used by Jesus; it is what Jesus does.  His call is all that matters, and His call extends to you & me.

Ultimately, Jesus was fishing for fishermen, and that’s what He found in Simon Peter & the others.  Not only did each of them need the forgiveness of Christ, but they needed the calling and purpose than only Christ could give them.  They would find it if they found Him – but they needed to leave everything they knew in order to do so.  Would they be willing to change majors – to abandon their lives for the sake of Jesus?  Are we?

Luke 5:1–11

  • Jesus teaches (1-3)

1 So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, 2 and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets.

  • Jesus certainly never had trouble attracting a crowd.  When He taught, the multitudes gathered.  They recognized His inherent authority, and understood that what He taught was the truth of God.  Of course that doesn’t mean they always received His teaching gladly (at some points, many were willing to throw Him off a cliff!) – but they couldn’t deny the power of His word.  And how could they?  It was the word of God.
    • People don’t always like God’s word, but when it’s presented clearly & truthfully, it cannot be easily ignored.  When skeptics voice their objections today, often they’re really objecting to a false characterization of God’s word.  They’ve either been taught an unfair bias, or perhaps they’ve imagined one for themselves.  Other times, they’re imposing what they know of a certain Christian upon Jesus Christ Himself, but either way the truth of God is distorted.  It’s the distortion to which they object – not Jesus Himself.  That’s why it’s so important for us to get the focus off of us or whatever arguments we might have, and put it back on the Lord & His word.  Let Jesus be the One to draw them. 
  • Where were they?  Luke calls it the “Lake of Gennesaret,” which is another name for the Sea of Galilee or Sea of Tiberius.  The various names ought not to surprise us – we do the same thing with streets and other things.  The different Biblical authors wrote during different years and wrote to different audiences.  It only makes sense that they would use the descriptive labels that their own audience would know best.  Technically speaking, “Gennesaret” was the name to one of the southern regions of the sea/lake, but considering Jesus’ call to Simon Peter & the others, along with the fishing boats and equipment they had with them, it seems reasonable to assume that Jesus had either returned to the Capernaum area, or had not yet left from the events of Chapter 4.  (Luke’s chronology isn’t always easy to follow – he has a tendency of arranging his gospel account more thematically than according to date.) 
  • In any case, the setting is clear: it’s a lakeshore with a crowd and some fishermen currently in-between excursions.  This isn’t the Sabbath day – it isn’t one of the Jewish feasts – it isn’t the theologically important city of Jerusalem with the priests – it’s just a normal day among normal people.  And that’s when Jesus showed up, choosing to do something extraordinary!
    • Isn’t that the way it so often works? Who was Abram other than one of the normal idolator shepherds in the land of Ur?  Or Gideon, who was just a regular Hebrew attempting to hide from the Philistines?  The so-called “giants” of the faith often didn’t start out as giants – they were just normal everyday people.  The situations in which God manifests His glory are often the same way: normal, everyday days & circumstances.  There’s nothing special about them until God makes His move…but when He does, it’s amazing!  Abram becomes the father of faith & the ancestor of Jesus – Gideon became judge and deliverer of the Hebrew people.  What made the difference wasn’t the individual or the circumstance, it was the will of God.
    • Do we trust God with our everyday things?  Do we even look for Him there?  Jesus showed up on a boat in Capernaum to preach the gospel and call people to be saved.  Sure, He did it in synagogues & gatherings of the “religious,” but He could (and did) do it anywhere with anyone.  Today, His call can come just as easily in a church service as it can in a grocery store.  It can come in a lunch between friends, or in a conversation with a random stranger.  All that is needed is someone willing to be used by Jesus.

3 Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat.

  • We can easily imagine how the crowds pushed in around Jesus, and how He needed a bit of space in order to teach them all.  So what did Jesus do?  He got a bit creative & made His own floating pulpit. J  Since Simon wasn’t currently using his boat for fishing, Jesus figured He could use it for a bit of fishing of His own.  They didn’t likely go far – probably a few feet.  It was just enough to get a bit of space between Jesus & the crowds in order for Him to teach everyone who had gathered.  That Jesus “sat down” isn’t necessarily an indication that He was trying to keep the boat steady & not fall overboard – it was the typical position for a Jewish teacher at the time.  They taught sitting down, so that’s what Jesus did.
  • Wouldn’t you love to know what it was Jesus taught? J  As with many other times, Luke and the other gospel writers don’t give us a transcript – they simply give us the fact.  He “taught,” and that’s all we’re told.  From the end of Ch. 4, we can assume that the general subject was the kingdom of God, but what specifically, we don’t know.  What we do know is that it grabbed the attention of the people who listened – yet it didn’t grab them to the same extent as Simon Peter & the others.  How can we tell?  This is the last mention of the crowds at the time.  From here on, the focus shifts to that of Jesus, Peter & the fishermen – the multitude (however big it was) eventually dispersed.
    • It goes to demonstrate that someone can be captivated by Jesus without being captured by Him.  Someone can listen to Jesus without inviting Him to be Lord.  Out of the vast multitudes that followed Jesus during His earthly ministry, how many stuck by Him until the moment of His death and resurrection?  Only a handful.  Even His own 12 disciples scattered for a time, though 11 returned.  Being around Jesus saves no one; we have to belong to Jesus to be saved.
    • So many people believe they’re going to heaven based on being around the church.  They show up a few times a year, throw a couple of $20s into the offering plate, and still fully believe that they are Christians, saved & bound for heaven.  That’s a works-based salvation – and there aren’t even that many “works” of which to speak.  None of that saves anyone.  In fact, you could show up in church every Sunday, write 90% of your paycheck over to the Lord, volunteer at the homeless ministries every week, and more, and still not go to heaven.  All of those things are very good things, but none of it saves.  It’s still being around the stuff of Jesus; it isn’t Jesus Himself.  Jesus’ stuff doesn’t save; Jesus saves.  We have to personally know Jesus & be known by Him as one of His own.  We have to believe upon Him & His work, trusting Him alone to save us…and He will.  (If you haven’t, you can.)
  • Jesus acts (4-7)

4 When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.”

  • So the crowd is gone, or is at least dispersing, and Jesus & Simon Peter are still on the boat.  We haven’t any idea how long Jesus had taught, but it was enough for Jesus to consider the lesson completed.  At this point, He’s ready for something different.  The crowd had been taught something; now it was Peter’s turn – only Simon Peter didn’t know it yet.
  • What Jesus suggested to Simon would have sounded ridiculous to him.  Jesus was the teacher / the rabbi; Simon Peter was the fisherman.  The man Jesus might have been a carpenter by trade, but as God, He is fully competent in every occupation.  There is nothing He cannot do.  At the time, Simon didn’t fully grasp this, but he was willing to honor Jesus’ request, if not at least humor Jesus a bit.  Simon & the others had unsuccessfully fished all night long (surely much to their frustration), but they had done all the right things in the right ways.  Now here comes Jesus telling him to sail to the deep water & let down the nets again in the heat of the day when normally no fish could be found.  It was totally backwards – and yet, Simon did it anyway.  Why?  Because it was Jesus who asked him to do it.
  • In fact, Simon specifically said the reason: “nevertheless, at Your word I will let down the net.”  The word of Jesus made all the difference in the world.  Keep in mind that this was not the first meeting between Jesus & Simon Peter.  Depending on how we count the events, this is quite possibly the third major encounter between the two of them.  First was during the heyday of the ministry of John the Baptist, when Simon’s brother Andrew (who had been a disciple of John) came and excitedly told Simon that the Christ had been found, and basically dragged his brother off to meet Him (Jn 1:40-42).  It was at that time that Jesus first gave Simon his new name of Cephas/Peter.  Next was shortly after Jesus’ return from the wilderness temptation, as Jesus walked along the seashore, came across Simon, Andrew, James, and John, and called them all as disciples (Mt 4:18-22).  Finally, we have Luke’s account.  Although some scholars believe Luke to record the same event as Matthew & Mark, there seem to be enough differences to think otherwise.  In any case, we know from Luke that Simon Peter and Jesus were already familiar enough with each other for Jesus to stay at Simon’s home, where Jesus healed Simon Peter’s mother-in-law (4:38-39).  So Simon Peter knew at least a little about Jesus – enough to call Him “Master,” and to fully trust the spoken word of Jesus.
    • Jesus’ word can be trusted!  When Jesus speaks, there is power.  That much has already been seen in His teaching, but it is true in whatever He speaks.  Jesus does not have to teach a lesson on the kingdom of God in order for Him to have authority in speaking forth the word of God.  Whatever it is Jesus speaks IS the word of God!  Thus, whatever it is He speaks can be trusted and obeyed.
    • What does that mean for the Christian today?  It means that the written word of God ought to have the supreme authority in our lives.  What the Holy Spirit inspired to be written is what Jesus would speak today to our hearts, despite whether or not your Bible edition of choice puts it in red ink or black.  God’s word is God’s word, period.  It needs to be given the place of ultimate authority in our lives.  What He says, we should do.  That means we need to forgive the way He says we ought to forgive – that we should flee temptation the way He tells us to – that we should love our enemies the way He taught us to – that we should share the gospel, trust God, be filled with the Holy Spirit, and generally live as He has commanded that we should from the pages of Scripture.  Follow Him – obey Him – trust Him.  We might not always understand how it will work out in our particular circumstances, but neither did Simon Peter when he launched out into the deep.  But the only way to find out is to step out in faith.  So forgive someone for the 70th time – trust God with your marriage and your kids – follow Jesus in whatever He has placed in front of you, believing that God is going to be glorified…because He will be.
  • Peter certainly wasn’t disappointed.  Vs. 6…

6 And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. 7 So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.

  • The differences between Dr. Luke and Fisherman John come to light here.  John records a similar event after Jesus’ resurrection in which Jesus restored Peter to ministry, but not until after Jesus provided a miraculous fishing haul.  In that instance, John recorded that 153 fish were caught (Jn 21:11) – and as a fisherman, his attention to that kind of detail might be expected.  Luke, on the other hand, simply notes that it was “a great number of fish” that were caught – so much so that “their net was breaking.”  It seems that originally, it was only Jesus and Simon who had set out, and due to the size of the catch, they had to somehow signal the other boat back on the shore to come out and help.  As it turns out, they probably could have used a third boat in addition, as the two boats that were there were so overloaded “that they began to sink.
  • That’s a big catch!  Of course, it was a big God on board.  God can (and does) do the impossible.  Heal the sick?  Give sight to the blind?  Provide a huge haul of fish?  It’s no problem for the Lord God.  He can do it.  A far greater miracle is done every single time someone comes to faith in Christ Jesus as Lord.  How so?  At that point, a dead person is brought to life.  Someone who was eternally lost in sin, destined for a death separated from God is now completely forgiven, granted a new spiritual birth & new internal nature, even granted a new inheritance as he/she is made a child of the Living God.  That is a miracle of miracles!  A few hundred fish pale in comparison to that. 
    • Chew on that for a moment.  Do you belong to the Lord Jesus – have you surrendered your life to Him in faith, believing upon Him as your Lord & God?  If so, you’ve been the recipient of a miracle!  You’ve experienced the supernatural, being individually and personally touched by Almighty God Himself.  That’s amazing!  Sometimes we lose sight of that.  When we think of miracles, we tend to think of stories of healings or provision or some other sort of sign or wonder.  And no doubt, those can be wonderful – but each one is temporary.  Every provision eventually needs to be replenished, and every individual who is healed eventually dies.  What are the only permanent miracles?  Salvation & resurrection.  Every born-again Christian has experienced the first, and we’ll all eventually experience the second.  If you are saved, you’re the product of a true miracle.  Praise God as such!
    • BTW – when you share the gospel with others, you’re participating in the work of miracles.  That’s a privilege few others can claim!  God is the One who does the supernatural, but He invites us to come alongside with Him as we share Jesus with our friends, family, and total strangers.  When we do, the Scripture pierces their hearts, the Holy Spirit convicts them of their need to be saved, Jesus is lifted up before them, and God draws them to Christ.  That’s a direct participation in the work of God.  What a humbling privilege – what an amazing opportunity.  May we take advantage of it every chance we get!
  • The miraculous catch was amazing, no doubt – but it was only an attention-getter.  Something far bigger was taking place at that moment, and it didn’t escape the notice of Simon Peter.  Vs. 8…
  • Jesus calls (8-11)

8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”

  • When Peter initially humored Jesus by going out in the deep, he acknowledged Jesus as his “Master” – someone with authority over him, like a boss-man.  Now Peter fell to the floor, calling Jesus “Lord.”  Was this a confession of faith, or simply a term of respect?  Although κυριος could go either way, the context strongly argues for confession – at least to some extent.  Simon Peter had witnessed the miracles of Jesus in the past – recently with his own mother-in-law.  He had been drawn by the power in Jesus’ presence & teaching, having left his fishing boat on other occasions to follow this Man.  But here & now, with Jesus in the boat with him, Simon Peter recognized that this was no ordinary Man.  Jesus was holy, endued with the divine perfection and power of God, and Simon Peter had no business being in His presence.  In that boat were two extremes: the extreme holiness of God, and the extreme sinfulness of Peter.  Peter’s only hope (so he thought) was to have Jesus leave him, and perhaps he would live.
  • This is a natural response to the holiness of God – and it’s actually based in the right perspective.  Although what Peter needed was more Jesus (instead of less), at least he understood that the sinfulness of man cannot remain in the presence of the holiness of God.  The more holy we understand God to be, the more glaring our sin becomes, and the greater the need for it to be addressed. The same idea is seen with the prophet Isaiah, as he receives a vision of the glorious throne room of God.  As Isaiah looks around, the first thing he notices was the Lord God on His throne, high & lifted up, surrounded by seraphim –heavenly creatures described as burning with the glory of God.  These multi-winged seraphim fly around the temple, covering their faces and feet, all the while crying out about the ultimate holiness of God.  And what they proclaimed, they proclaimed loudly: Isaiah 6:4–5, "(4) And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. (5) So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts.”"  In that moment, Isaiah was overcome with the reality of God’s holiness.  If those magnificent creatures so strongly affirmed the perfect holiness of God while in the temple of God, then Isaiah’s previous concept of God was far too small!  Just being in the presence of such a God ought to have sealed Isaiah’s doom.  No background as a Hebrew, not even as a prophet, was enough to save him & he proclaimed his own woe.  Thankfully, that’s when God acted, and He sent one of the seraphim to purge the sin of Isaiah from his lips.
  • This is the same basic reaction had by Peter when he realized he was in the boat with not only Jesus, but the Lord Jesus.  He recognized Jesus’ holiness & his own sinfulness, and it caused his knees to buckle.  Question: how do you see Jesus?  How do you see yourself?  If we’re being honest, most days we don’t see our sin as all that bad, and we don’t see Jesus as all that good.  If we did, we’d have the same reaction as Peter.  Instead, we take things for granted, feeling free to engage in some of the same sins and behaviors we used to do before we knew Christ.  We start to go down the same roads because we start to lose sight of the awesomeness of the God who called us out of that way.  How important it is to maintain/recover a proper perspective of the holiness of God!  We need to see Him as He is – to maintain a righteous reverent fear of Him, ever deepening in our grateful love for Him.  That happens through a right perspective of His holiness.  He really IS that holy, and we really are that sinful.  When Peter described himself as a “sinful man,” he wasn’t pointing out one or two flaws in his character – Peter was referring to his totality.  That is exactly the way we all are apart from Christ.  We are truly sinful men & women.  We engage in the things of our flesh, desiring to please ourselves first before we ever give consideration to the God who granted us life.  Our hearts and minds are corrupted, and even the good things we attempt to do become tainted by our selfish motives.  On the contrary, God is holy – He is perfectly good & righteous – He is the very definition of goodness.  We only know what good is by first looking to God – and likewise with love, righteousness, and justice.  He is so good that the only justice that is equal to the sin against Him is eternity.  That is holy.  And that is what Jesus saves us from.  How important it is for us to remember that!  This needs to be impressed on the backsides of our eyelids, in order that it would never be beyond our sight.  The more we know the holy goodness of our God, and the depravity of our sin, the more dependent we will be upon our Jesus…and that is exactly the way it ought to be.
    • For some, you’ve not yet come to the same realization of Simon Peter & Isaiah, in which you’ve truly seen your sinfulness in the light of God’s holiness.  Know this: that is where a relationship with God begins.  Just like you cannot complete a race without first getting to the starting line, the acknowledgement of our sin is the starting line.  We have to see our sin if we are to understand our need for a Savior.  We have to see our death if we are to cry out for life.  We cannot look upon Jesus casually and expect to be saved.  Many people add a bit of church to their lives & call themselves Christian – they look upon Jesus as giving them an extra bit of help to get them through the door of heaven, but nothing more.  That isn’t saving faith.  That isn’t even the starting line.  Who is Jesus – who are you?  He’s the holy God – you & I are the sinners in need of His grace.  That’s where it begins, and that is what you can acknowledge today.

9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. …

  • The action has focused upon Simon Peter, but he wasn’t the only one there – nor was he the only one impacted by Jesus.  James & John, the two brothers who eventually formed the rest of Jesus’ inner circle along with Peter, were there as well.  They were apparently partners in business long before they were partners in the gospel.  Interestingly, Simon’s brother Andrew is not mentioned along with the rest.  Surely he was with the group (perhaps part of the “all” of verse 9), but for whatever reason, Luke remained silent about him despite Andrew’s own importance in the original introduction between Peter & Jesus.
  • Whoever was present, there were all “astonished” at what Jesus had done.  The word used here is exactly the same word used in 4:32 in regards to the reaction of the people of Capernaum to Jesus’ authoritative teaching.  They were blown away – put out of their senses by what Jesus had said and done.  In this case, they were supposed to have been the experts.  They were fishermen by trade, whereas this other Man was an informal rabbi, and the only occupational training He had was that of a carpenter.  What did He know about fishing?  Yet He didn’t just lead them in a good fishing trip – He led them to the catch of their career.  This told them what it told Simon Peter: this Man was no ordinary Man!

… And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.”

  • Jesus tells Peter two things here.  First, not to be afraid.  Simon Peter’s fear was understandable.  Again, he had just come to grips with being in the boat with the Lord, the Son of God.  Like Isaiah, he was thinking “woe is me!”  Peter had every reason to believe he would die, being a sinful man in the presence of God – and he would have been right, apart from the grace of Jesus!  No sin can remain unpunished in the presence of God – it’s going to be addressed one way or the other.  Either the individual will be punished in hell, or our punishment is put upon Jesus at the cross.  For Simon Peter, he was to receive the grace of God, so he didn’t need to be afraid.  Peter had a proper fear of God and was entering into a proper relationship with God, so the fear of punishment was no longer needed.
  • Second, Jesus gave Peter a new calling: “From now on you will catch men.”  This was basically the same thing He told Peter & Andrew earlier as Jesus walked by their boats, and He reaffirms it here.  Mark 1:16–17, "(16) And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. (17) Then Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”"  Same calling, different circumstance, different time.  Earlier, Jesus was preparing them for the day – now He was introducing them into it.  This was now the time of which Jesus had earlier spoken.  It was time to go out & “catch men.”  Interestingly, the particular word for “catch” speaks of catching something alive.  Unlike fish, which Peter & others would catch to kill, the men would be caught alive, purposefully to remain alive (everlasting life).  This would be a far greater catch Peter had ever done in the past – one with eternal value.
    • Question: If Jesus gave Peter a new calling into ministry, does that mean Peter’s old life as a fisherman wasn’t valuable?  Not at all!  Please notice that Jesus says nothing about Peter being in a certain building or occupation as he was to fish for men.  Certainly Peter did eventually serve God in full-time occupational ministry, but that wasn’t always the case.  It’s not a person’s occupation that determines whether or not someone is in ministry; it’s whether or not a person is saved.  ALL Christians are ministers in that all Christians serve Christ.  Truck drivers and teachers can use their occupations to serve Jesus just as much as pastors and missionaries.  What Jesus did with Peter wasn’t so much as to give him a new vocational career, as it was to give him a new purpose & life-calling.  Now, whatever it was that Peter did from day-to-day, his primary focus was to be on catching men for the glory of God.

11 So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.

  • Every call needs a response – every invitation needs an answer.  That’s what happened as the men returned to shore.  Boats, nets, family businesses, even the fishing haul for that day – everything was abandoned as Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John followed Christ.  They could leave it in the past because there was something far more glorious ahead: life with the Son of God.
  • What have you left to follow Christ?  Have you left anything at all?  If not, you either haven’t realized that you did, or you might want to re-examine whether or not you truly followed Jesus in the first place.  Everyone leaves something: your life direction, your sin, perhaps some friends or family members.  Maybe you simply understand that you left your own personal sovereignty behind as you surrendered yourself to Jesus as your Lord & King.  Whatever the case, everyone who follows Christ has left something in order to do so.
  • If you haven’t, you need to determine who or what it is that you’re following, because it isn’t Jesus.  Those who know Him have heard His call & obeyed – just like Peter and the others.  Those who don’t might have heard His voice, but their lives didn’t change in response to it – just like many of the multitudes on the shore.  The good news is that Jesus still calls people today.  You still have the opportunity to respond to Him…so take it.

Life changed for Simon Peter that day.  He had known of Jesus – he had heard and seen Jesus in action – he was even willing to humor Jesus for a bit of fishing.  What he didn’t realize was the depth of Jesus’ holiness, and the reality of his own sinfulness in contrast.  When he did, he was profoundly and permanently impacted, and that’s when Jesus could use him.  Jesus had a plan for Peter all along, but the calling didn’t come until Simon Peter came to the right perspective.  When Peter finally humbled himself in the light of Jesus’ holiness, that’s when Jesus gave him a new calling and a new identity.  That’s when Peter was fully ready to leave everything behind, as he understood that nothing compared with that of Jesus.

How have you seen yourself in comparison with the Son of God?  Is He a good teacher – but just another teacher?  Is He just a bit of help to give you that extra push into heaven?  Or is He the Holy God come in the flesh?  A bit of perspective makes all of the difference.  It’s only when we see Jesus rightly that we’re finally ready to hear His call and abandon everything to follow Him.

For some of you, this is the day you change your major.  Perhaps you’ve acknowledged Jesus as your Lord & Master, but you haven’t been living as though He is.  He may not be calling you to vocational ministry like Peter, but He is calling you to service.  How will you take part in fishing for men?  In what ways will you practically follow Jesus as your Lord?  Get involved!  Opportunities abound all around us, if we would but open our eyes to see.

For some, this is the day we stop going down the old roads of old sin.  This is the day we remind ourselves of the holiness of our God, and our utter desperation for Him.  Confess your sin to Jesus, and ask for the Spirit of God to impress upon you His holiness, His goodness, and His love.  See Him as ever-high, and cling to Him.

For others of you, this is the day you finally surrender your life to Jesus.  No more games – no more casual flirting with the things of God – no more sitting on the side and simply going your own way.  This time, you see Jesus for who He is, and you cannot help but be changed.  Admit your sin to Christ, and tell Him your need for His help, grace, and salvation.  Throw yourself upon the mercies of Jesus, and He will save you – that is exactly what He has promised to do.


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