The Gospel

The Gospel

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Convictions Of A Pastor - Part 3

Over the last month the pastors from the church we have connected with have been preaching a series called "Outsiders".  It is a look at the cost of true discipleship.  We started our study in Luke chapter 5.  The text is where Jesus is with his disciples in a boat and they are having no success in catching fish that day.  

There are a few observations that could be made about this text.  First, in verse 4 Jesus offers his suggestions on how Peter and the rest of the group should fish - "put out into the deep and drop your nets."  Now know that Jesus is the God of the universe and in hindsight it would seem foolish not to listen to his words.  But to these disciples Jesus was a carpenter - an occupation that probably knows bubcus about fishing.  This is the first of several strange and hard to grasp requests that Jesus makes of his disciples.  Peter might have thought "why should we listen to him - if we were making furniture absolutely - but fishing."  Peter give a little defense but sort of reluctantly he lets the nets down.  Most of us know what happens next - They catch a boat load of fish (pun intended). 

Peter has a unique response to this amazing catch - he falls on his knees and begs Jesus to depart from him and says he is a sinner.  You get the sense that if Peter could walk on water at this point he might have just left the boat.  There was fear and awe in his heart.  We have seen this before - several times actually.  But the two that stand out are the callings of Isaiah and Jeremiah.  God summons both of them and they both respond that they are unclean.  This is the response of sinful people that come in contact with a holy God - we are not worthy and our sin is magnified a thousand times in the sight of God's holiness.  Isaiah and Jeremiah, after seeing God's holiness and their sinfulness, are cleansed by God and are called to ministry and they both respond in obedience and faith.  God specifically asks Isaiah who will go and tell others the good news of God - his answer "I will go, send me"

In a mirror image (or typological pattern if you will) Peter seems to be having the same kind of experience.  Jesus says to them to not be afraid because they will now be fishers of men.  Again, this is the same language used in Jeremiah 16:16 - Behold, I will send for many fishers saith the LORD, and they shall fish them; and afterward I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.

Jesus is saying to the disciples - Do you know who I am - Did you read the prophets.  The language should have sent bells and alarms ringing in the minds of the disciples.  Peter (and the rest of the disciples) are in the presence of a holy God, they fall to their knees and see their sinfulness.  So what do the disciples do - they get to the shore and...leave all those fish.  Now to most of us this doesn't seem odd. I don't eat fish - I wouldn't think twice.  But they weren't leaving behind fish - but cash and lots of it - a boat load if you remember.  They walk away from all that.  To be fishers of men.  Why would they do it? 

For the same reason Isaiah and Jeremiah before them do it.  The same reason that you and I must be willing to do the same - because those that see the glory of God in Christ Jesus the only obedient response is complete abandonment and following Jesus with our lives.  Taking nothing with us, holding nothing tightly in our hands and being willing to leave everything behind. 

There have always been little things in my life that I was not quite willing to give up to follow Jesus.  But that is not true discipleship.  A real disciple of Jesus leaves everything, even earthly wealth and power, to follow Christ.  I want to be like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Peter and millions of others who have said "Give Me Jesus, only Jesus".

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The Outpost - Bible Preaching (Brooke Taylor)