Because you say so

Simon Peter answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” Luke 5:5

 

ALL NIGHT

Some members of TGFA – The Genneseret Fishers Association had been attending duty on an ordinary day, faithfully doing so as they did every day (except the Sabbath – of course). It had been a rough night though. At best they had managed to catch nothing. The resilience of a man will seldom lead him to confessing defeat. Even when he has failed, there is always the itch to want to win, over and over again. In the spirit of Thomas Edison, Simon Peter would have said, “I have 12 hours night experience of how not to fish.” He did not. Instead, recognizing the Master, he gave up his ego, “We have tried, sir.”

Have you tried and feel that all your capacities have failed? Every strategy, every plan, every effort, nothing seems to work. You are not alone. Let see what happens.

 

MASTER SAYS

Jesus was clear on his instruction, “Put out into deep waters, and let down the nets.” Words that not only exuded confidence but that were meant to show the TGFA that beyond their sincere, though futile hard work, was possibility of fruit. Simon Peter’s response draws my second and core lesson, “Because you say so…” Stepping out of his manliness, Simon stepped into the confidence of Christ and cast down his nets.

Lo and behold! They caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. The same nets, the same water, the same men. They had to call for help. This was a united association. If the catch was plenty, they were willing to help one another pull it.

 

THE GREATER PLAN

When he saw what happened, Simon responded again. One would think he’d invite Jesus to become the patron of TGFA or majority shareholder. Not so. He fell at his knees and pleaded with Jesus to go away from him, for he was a sinful man! To tell Jesus, “Walk away from a sinful man” is to turn the whole message of the Bible upside down. For that is precisely why he came. For the Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost (Luke 19:10). I will not remind you that when no man was found to condemn the woman caught in the very act of adultery, Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you.” Homework for you, read John 8:1-11.

For his was and still is a greater plan. “Do not be afraid; from now on you will catch men,” He said to Simon. Throughout his time with the disciples, Jesus made this “catch men” affair clear. “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” (John 10:16).

Here is the catch, friends. In this greater plan, the Lord has made us co-workers with him. He is bringing other sheep into the pen and doing so through us. He became the first witness to the Father, John 14:9…Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. He has called us friends and he chose us (we did not choose him) to go and bear fruit that will last, (John 15:15-16). He then said to us, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8).

 

A PERSONAL COMMITMENT

When he sent out the seventy-two, Jesus said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers in the harvest field.” In the TGFA context, the catch is plentiful, the nets will be breaking, but there just may be no colleagues in the other boat to call out to.

In this encounter, Jesus called the first four disciples, Peter, Andrew, James and John. While the Bible is silent about the words of the other three, the words of Peter clearly show he spoke for himself. In Luke 5:5, he says, “Because you say so, I will let down the nets.” Note that he does not say “We will let down the nets.” And when they had caught fish, Peter does not say, “Go away from us,” he says, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man.”

We see a confident, personal resolve to do after Christ in Peter’s life. Even when he burnt his fingers, by denying the Lord, he still wept alone, hidden in a garden. Resolve will carry the whole man, the whole way, no matter the cost.

 

YOU ARE MY WITNESSES

…declares the LORD, “And my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he…” Isaiah 43:10.

The call is to step out of our confidence into the confidence of our Savior. To step out of our comfort into the ranging storm with him. To rest not in this life, for true rest is with he whose burden is light and yoke is easy. To take up our cross and daily follow Him who considered equality with God nothing to be grasped but gave himself up to death, even death on the cross…

This week in Bergen, Norway, we have had the Skeptics week. I got many opportunities to talk to university students about Faith. I learnt one big lesson; there is a lot of disbelief out there. More pressing as was in days of the early church is the need for faithful witnesses. Men and women a like are seeking for answers and presently holding to a form of shaky truth that the answer is with us humans. And this they guard with visible uncertainty hoping that they are right. Truth is that, they are not and someone has to tell them so.

We are the New TGFA – The Global Fishers Association. Called to stand in the courage of Peter and say, “Because you say so Lord.” And our motto is, Stand up! Stand up for Jesus!

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