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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Into the Deep With God

Luk 5:1 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret,
Luk 5:2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.
Luk 5:3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.
Luk 5:4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.
Luk 5:5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.
Luk 5:6 And when they had this done, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net broke.
Luk 5:7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.
Luk 5:8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.
Luk 5:9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:

I don't think it's a coincidence that Gennesaret means a garden of riches. It was also called the Sea of Galilee, which means turning, revolution. And everywhere Jesus who contained the fullness of the godhead, went, didn't He turn things completely around? I know He revolutionized my whole life. The Son of God is here speaking and teaching the Word of God in the power of the Spirit. He had just endured the 40 day period in the wilderness, and being tempted by the devil. John the Baptist had just been thrown in prison. As Jesus is speaking, the people are so interested and so hungry, they are pressing upon Him, and that word implies an urgent pressure of the crowd for Him to continue speaking on these things. They wanted to know, they wanted to understand. According to Mark 1:15 He is preaching about the time they are living in and how the kingdom of God is at hand. They need to repent and believe the Gospel.

Peter is surely tired, and with his partners, James and John, are ready to go home after they finish cleaning their nets, I would think. If you had been up all night, fishing, and this was your livelihood, and you had caught nothing, you would probably be tired, frustrated, perhaps a little worried, and definitely ready for a shower and bed. But there was something about Jesus that commanded their attention, and obedience. His presence was different than that of other men. They heard what Jesus was saying, and it had affected them, for when Jesus finishes teaching, He turns to Peter and instructs him to lower the nets into the water that they had just cleaned, for a haul. The Word he had heard Jesus teaching had convicted Peter's heart. He automatically calls Him Master. He politely explains they have worked hard all night, and caught nothing, but because He said to do so they would let down the net. When Peter obeyed, the net was quickly filled to bursting with fish. Peter needed help from his partners to just get the net back up and it broke. They caught so many fish the weight of them began to sink the ship Peter was on, and James and John's ship, too. This wasn't natural and Peter knew it. Conviction hit his heart. He had been cleaning his equipment, tired, frustrated, having worked so hard and accomplished so little, and here comes this Man, and Peter heard Him speak the Word of God. He spoke with authority, and compassion. He addressed the regular people, the poor-whomever would come and listen, Jesus would talk to. How different from the Pharisees and the religious leaders of the day. Jesus went where the people were. He came to them. He had come into Peter's life, when he was tired, frustrated, and empty. Peter was awed. He fell down before the knees of Jesus, and he humbled himself, in spite of the fact that others were around, and I don't think his voice was strong and boisterous as he said, Get away from me, for I am a sinful man, oh, Lord. His words imply an honest, sincere, and very convicted heart. Remember, the Pharisees considered themselves unclean if one of the common folk happened to brush up against them-especially if they were dirty or poor or sick. After a night of fishing, I would say Peter didn't smell too good, and wasn't too clean. He was used to rigid Pharisees. But there was something convicted in his heart by Jesus. Jesus had just shown and given him more provision than he could ever have gotten on his own, with just a Word. He was so astonished at the great haul of fish they had caught; it was more than they could handle. They knew it was not natural. They knew they had never caught that many on their own. Something had happened, and fear gripped Peter's heart. He knew he was in the presence of the Lord. He recognized true authority. But Jesus tells them not to be afraid, that they would be catchers of men. They immediately forsook their boats and nets and followed Jesus. They left all. They did not stay and get sidetracked by the great amount of fish, they left it to Zebedee and his other helpers. They walked away.
Sometimes, we get so caught up in our lives, with our jobs, trying to make a living, and yet, we can get caught up in our religion, too, trying to be a witness for Jesus, sharing the Gospel with those who will allow us to do so, and inside, feel tired, frustrated at the lack of results, the lack of accomplishment. We can look around and wonder what are we doing, and why things are not more fruitful? Jesus said "launch out into the deep, and let down your nets."

That word "deep" in the Greek is 'bathos' and it means mystery, profound truth, the deep things of God. Perhaps we need to do more than get our feet wet. We need to dive into the depths of the Word, invite the Holy Spirit to transform us, and make ourselves regularly and readily available to Him. We need to deny our flesh its pleasure of sleeping in, and resting, and get up early and seek the truth and fellowship of God while things around us are still quiet and calm. We must realize if we cater to the demand of our flesh for comfort and ease, the spiritual life we have will die. If we do not feed it with the Word, and water it with prayer and communication with the Father, and invite the Holy Spirit to do in our lives what the Lord sent Him to do, we will die. The oil will leak out and we will be as foolish virgins, with the appearance of religion, but no power. No life of Christ transforming us into His image, and glory. No faith. If we are found in that position when the Lord comes to collect His Bride, we will be left.

If we will come to Jesus, and hear Him, with hearts that are determined to trust Him for the power to obey Him, He will fill us with His life, the Holy Spirit will reveal Him to our hearts, and make us what we were meant to be. He will fill our vessels with holy provision just as He filled the nets with fish. And that is another thing that caught my attention. When Jesus said launch out into the deep, and drop your net, the provision was already there. He caused the fish to fill the net to bursting. If we will seek Him, and His life, His kingdom, and let our own wills and wants die, we will not lack for provision-spiritual, physical, or financial. But we must be found faithful stewards of what He gives us. He will not trust spiritual riches to someone who is slack or unfaithful. Oh, Word of God, wash us clean, oh precious Comforter, deal with us in mercy and do not depart from us, guide us into all truth, and grant us Your strength to live it and walk it so that this desperate and dying world can see the Way, the Truth and the Life once more. Help us be a people of prayer, confident of being accepted by the Lord, because the Word says He has made us accepted in the Beloved. If we are accepted, let us not wait any longer. Let us cast off the weights that hinder and beset us so easily and cut off the distractions and set our face to seek God, and be determined to run right over that devil to get to the Lord.

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