Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 1 Study # 3
Thesis: Jesus' provision of the largest catch of fish in the history of fishing the "Lake" was designed to reveal His ability to produce Life from Death.
Introduction: According to Luke's record, Jesus was sent to enable the blind to see (this is the core of His message in Nazareth). According to Luke's record, the exorcism of demons and the healing of the sick were the twin procedural elements to the opening of blind eyes. Having laid this foundation, Luke records Jesus' dealings with Simon, the fisherman. In these dealings, the net result (pardon the pun) was that Peter abandoned "fishing for fish" so that he might become a "fisher of men". The major question is this: what did Peter see in Jesus that moved him to abandon his entire form of life in order to become a major player in Jesus' vision of the future? According to Luke's record, the answer is in the event that is before us this morning.
February 4, 2007
- I. The "Relative" Contributions to Peter's View of Jesus.
- A. He was a witness to Jesus' exorcisms and healings.
- B. He was a witness to Jesus' total commitment to the proclamation of the Word of God.
- C. He was a dissatisfied man -- and he was afraid.
- II. The Major Contributions to Peter's View of Jesus.
- A. Jesus deliberately kept showing up where Peter could not ignore Him.
- 1. There was a huge number of people whose lives had been significantly changed by Jesus' actions and teaching, but the vast majority of them accepted the good and went about their business.
- 2. Peter was among these who accepted the good and continued with his life as he had lived it.
- 3. But Jesus had decided that Peter was to be a vessel of honor in His Father's House, so He deliberately chose to "show up" where Peter was.
- 4. Peter began to see a special interest by Jesus in him.
- B. Jesus made sure that Peter "felt" the pressure of Judgment.
- 1. Everyone "feels" this pressure: it is the root of the "fear of death" that keeps men in bondage all of their lives.
- 2. Most people "bury" the "feeling" if they can; some develop crippling phobias because they cannot "bury" it; and all develop "fang" tactics in the face of it.
- 3. Jesus commandeered Peter's boat, requested his assistance in getting it in place so that He could teach, and made Peter's fear a fundamental point of focus as He made Himself the answer to the fear.
- C. Jesus forced Peter deal with some very basic issues.
- 1. What did Peter think of the " word " of Jesus?
- a. The text tells us that Jesus publicly instructed Peter to move out into the deep.
- b. The background of the exorcisms and healings was totally focused upon the "authority" of Jesus' words.
- c. Was Peter going to "go along with" his personal frustration and weariness, or was he going to permit the "authoritative word" to determine his behavior?
- 2. What was Peter to do with his fear ?
- a. Jesus' instruction was to move out into the deep.
- 1) It is no accident that Paul sought the development of the Ephesians in their grasp of the "depth" of God's love (Ephesians 3:18) and that Jesus by-passed those in Thyatira who had entered into the "depths of Satan" (Revelation 2:24): this is fundamental to long-term discipleship.
- 2) This was the "felt" level of Peter's fears, but it was driven by the reality of the "Lake".
- a) Most folks simply do not seek the reason for their fears; they just try to avoid them.
- b) But the bottom line for all fear is the absence of the purity of the Love of God and the terror that His love is like ours.
- 3) This was, however, also a deliberate confrontation of Peter's typical method of handling his fears: Peter was a boastful, "fearless", man.
- a) Option one: refuse the "authoritative word" because "we have spent all night fishing and have caught nothing."
- b) Option two: swallow the terror and act on the "word".
- b. As uncomfortable as it was, Peter found himself unable to refuse the "word".
- D. Jesus provided Peter with an experience that topped everything Peter had ever experienced as a fisherman.
- 1. Why did Jesus not respond to Peter's lack of success in fishing by simply pointing to it and arguing for the emptiness of such a life?
- 2. Why did Jesus make Peter so incredibly successful this one time?
- a. First, "disciples" have to have a potent "positive" motivation to actually be disciples.
- 1) No one can ever become a disciple if fear is the motivation.
- a) Fear is self-centered and brings out the "fangs".
- b) Discipleship is fundamentally a "love" issue.
- 2) Only those can develop as disciples who are caught by the Love of God.
- 3) If Jesus had argued on the basis of Peter's failure and dissatisfaction, all He would have gotten was a Judas.
- b. Second, "disciples" have to be persuaded of Jesus' real ability to solve the problems of life.
- 1) Persuasion requires evidence.
- 2) The evidence has to exist in the realm of the person who is being summoned to make a decision.
- c. Third, "disciples" are people who have walked away from life as they have defined and pursued it.
- 1) This does not mean that no one is a disciple who continues in the vocation in which he was called (1 Corinthians 7:20).
- 2) But it definitely does mean no one is a disciple who continues to see the vocation in the same way he once saw it.
- a) Most people see their vocations as the "means of life".
- b) Disciples see their vocations as the "arena of service" to the God of Life.
- 3) Disciples are people who let God direct their "vocational" choices.