Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 1 Study # 5
February 18, 2007
10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.
11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.
1901 ASV Translation:
10 and so were also James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.
11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left all, and followed him.
- I. The New "Life".
- A. Deliverance from "fear".
- 1. As a structural issue, the verb is present, indicative, and passive. The makes the "command" essentially a prohibition of an on-going reality (stop what you are doing) and the passive voice indicates that the "fear" was a "reaction" to an "other-produced" stimulus (stop being made afraid). Instead of "Stop scaring people...", it is "Stop being afraid of...".
- 2. The issue is directly tied to Simon's "fear" of God because the "sponsor" of the fear is expressed in his "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man." In other words, the root of his fear was God as a "Re-Actor" to Simon's attitude/action complex. Out of that root had grown a "tri-plex" of fears that had, in turn, produced a plethora of fears. The "tri-plex" had its roots in the basic makeup of man. Fear of physical pain (or fear of the loss of physical pleasure) involved his physical frame. Fear of soul-pain (or fear of the absence of soul pleasure) involved his emotional experience as a "responder". And fear of spiritual pain (or the fear of the absence of spiritual pleasure) involved his experience of value in the eyes of others. At it related fundamentally, the "problem" was God's threatened imposition of "Death" on every level. But, out of that fundamental "problem" developed all of the "other" fears that, for the most part, involve creation and creatures because "God" is held at a long distance so that the most "immediate" threats are from creatures.
- 3. "Deliverance" does not, technically, arise from "demand": "Stop being afraid" is no real solution as "demand". Telling someone to "stop being afraid" when they are terrified is not a real solution. Only when the "command" reveals an absence of "threat" does the "command" impart the capacity of obedience. This, however, becomes a sticky wicket because the "stop being afraid" from Jesus is no promise that creatures will not harm us. In other words, in order to find freedom from fear, one must realize that "creature harm" is vastly over-rated. Thus Matthew 10:28 tells us where to go with the "fear" issue.
- a. But, telling people that "creature harm" is vastly over-rated typically brings out a telling host of objections. In the physical realm, for example, there are diabolical techniques of inflicting physical pain that defy explanation because our bodies have some pretty potent "pain" indicators. That few people ever have to face that does not seem to matter; what matters is the "spectre" of such pain.
- b. However, the fact is that God has made some telling commitments in the face of whatever man or beast can contrive, and those commitments put the "worst" possible "spectre" in its place.
- c. Thus, the bottom line is this: fear is displaced as God is permitted to move closer. Literally having God as one's best friend is a significantly difficult issue, but that is where "fear is gone".
- 4. Deliverance for Simon was tied to twin realities: his depravity and Jesus as God. Jesus, whether Simon knew it or not, was the object of Simon's fear because He is the God Simon feared. Simon's sinfulness was the cause of Simon's fear because it is the root of both rejection and penalty. The "problem" was that Simon did not have a "handle" on either of these issues. In both cases, Simon had engaged in significant "reductionism" -- making his sins less significant than they were, and making Jesus a whole lot less than the "God" that He is. But, the fact is that Jesus did have that handle on them and took Simon into His inner circle anyway...proving that "depravity" isn't the problem it is made out to be. The problem that is as great as it is made out to be is the one aspect of depravity that God simply will not accept: the refusal to acknowledge it to God with regret. Both hubris and cowardice put men in the Lake of Fire -- not because Jesus did not die for those two sins, but because those two sins block the repentance that permits Jesus' death for them to be applied to them.
- B. Promise and provision for a kingdom task.
- 1. The promise that "henceforth thou shalt catch men" was given in the future tense.
- a. This makes it a "promise", not a "command".
- b. The difference is enormous: Law kills; promise makes alive.
- 2. The promise indicated a completely different "focus" of labor.
- a. Any "focus" upon activity is a "spiritual" issue: it has to do with man as a creature with an agenda to achieve.
- b. Catching fish was a description of Simon's career as a "fang man" -- John's "viper" terminology where one does what he does for his own gain.
- 1) Simon as a "dreadful sinner" was completely wrapped up in his own focus upon himself and "fish" were his "ticket to the good life".
- 2) The entire issue of "career" has to do with the "spirit" of a man/woman in attempting to validate his/her "worth" as an achiever.
- c. Catching men was a description of Peter's function in a "fearless kingdom".
- 1) Though the terminology "catching men" lends itself to be misunderstood as the "catching of fish" was purely self-focused, that terminology in light of the "fearless kingdom" takes on a totally different meaning.
- 2) Peter's new "function" was going to arise out of a new "identity". He was to seek to snare "sinners" with Truth so that they could live, not so he could.