May 5 - Encouragement to Be With God

Opening Prayer Thoughts. 
 
Praise God. 
Praise God that all creation is being upheld by and ruled by his absolute power, from the blue whale to the tardigrade, the smallest known living creature.  Praise God that he is doing all things for the good of the Bride and the glory of his own name. John 1:2,3, Ephesians 1:22, and Matthew 10:29-31.
  
Acknowledge sin.
Acknowledge and confess the sin of being anxious and worried about what is going to happen in the world. Pray that God would help you to trust him and the promises he has made. Matthew 6:25-34.


Let's read Luke 5:1-11
Pray for the Holy Spirit's help to receive God's Word.
 
V1. On One Occasion.
The passage opens with the words 'on one occasion'. Interesting. Previously, when Luke has been introducing the next activity, event in Jesus' life, he has said things like; 'and Jesus full of the Holy Spirit returned from the Jordan…, And Jesus returned…, And he came to Nazareth…, And he went down to Capernaum…, And he arose and left…, And when it was day…,’ but this is different. Why? Because Luke is now speaking of events that are in the chronological flow. 
 
As mentioned, was it yesterday or on Friday (I can't remember my days, probably, like you, they are following one into another), the calling of the first disciples had already taken place before what Luke gives us in chapter 4:31-44. Why is that important? Because it shows that, while the men writing the gospels were doing so as they were 'carried along' by the Holy Spirit, they were nonetheless writing it as they saw and remembered things, and understood events, and they wanted to reflect them. So, we have in the gospels, not a formulaic, static recording of the life and ministry of Jesus, but a human flow granted by Divine authority to the presentation of the truth which reeks of authenticity. That is why we are blessed when we see the study of God's Word, not as a race to see how quickly we can get to the end of a book, but rather as a meander through a luscious spring forest teeming with life. A place to dwell for a while, to look around and see what is there. A time to consider, ponder, mull over, give thought to, meditate upon, with open eyes and ears. Never be afraid to take your time when meeting with God in his Word. The achievement is not in the ground you cover, but what, by the grace of God, you plough up for your mind, heart, and soul as you cover it. 
 
V1. The crowd is pressing in.
The crowd is pressing in on Jesus. Again, his life was marked by the immense and constant human demands upon it. What did they want from Jesus? Oh, that we would have such want in our nation for the hearing of Jesus' voice through the preaching of his Word. Romans 10:13-17. Where does Luke tell us that Jesus is standing? Luke always calls this body of water, approximately 13 miles long by 7 miles wide, and situated 700 feet below sea-level, a lake. Whereas, the other Synoptics follow the Old Testament in calling it a sea. This is the only place where it is called Gennesaret, after the area of land that jutted out into it at this location. The name usually given to it is either Galilee (Chinnereth in the Old Testament), i.e. the Sea of Galilee, or John does call it the Sea of Tiberias twice, after the nearby city of that name. It is an expanse of water that we will come across again in the journeyings of Jesus, hence the reason why it is good to familiarise ourselves with it a bit at this stage.  
 
What does Jesus see? The men were cleaning the nets in preparation for the next day’s fishing. It is important to prepare for what one has to do in life. Whether in the home or the workplace, but especially so for matters of eternal consequence in the church. I have, over the years, had the privilege of speaking at a few conferences; a couple are memorable. One of them because of my failure to prepare. It still brings me out in sweat when I think about it. As the saying goes, 'fail to prepare, and you prepare to fail.'  
 
V3. The command is given.
Jesus gets into one of the boats, it’s owned by Simon, and he asks Simon to take him out a little from the land, probably so that he is far enough out so that he can get a proper perspective on the crowd, and so the people at the back can see him. It also means that the people aren't going to start wading into the water to try and get closer to him. What does Jesus do next? Again, he adopts the customary position for teaching. There is a consistent pattern developing here. We are not told anything about what Jesus taught because the focus here is going to be on what he does. What does Jesus tell Simon to do? Simon’s response is simple, honest, and straightforward. It begins with the word 'Master'. Luke is the only gospel writer to use this term. He does so seven times and they all are used in respect of Jesus. It denotes authority. Hence the reason why, although Simon expresses the logical thought, 'there's no point, we've been at this all night and caught nothing', it is quickly superseded by 'but we'll do it if you say so'. That's the secret to obedience. It’s easy to do what you are asked when you see the reason why, when you get the point. But obedience is obedience when you can't see the reason, and the point is so obscured that it cannot be seen. So, obedience is the practical outworking of faith. The critical point to note is that when you obey God, regardless of how apparently irrational and unreasonable the command may seem, the result is always the same – blessing and reward. There were so many large fish that Simon's boat was overwhelmed, as was the other boat that came to help. Luke says that both boats began to sink under the weight of the fish. It must have been unbelievable – the power of Christ over his creation. 
 
V8. How did Simon Peter, as Luke now identifies him, react?
How did Simon react? His eyes filled up with 'dollar' signs. What a haul! No, he fell on his knees on the fish filling the boat, and exclaimed: "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." It is a similar reaction as that of Abraham (Genesis 18:27), Job (Job 42:60), Isaiah (Isaiah 6:5), and Daniel (Daniel 10:16). One commentator writes this, "It is the 'Master' whose orders must be obeyed, the 'Lord' whose holiness causes moral agony to the sinner.” We must become conversant with obedience in our lives, but obedience will frequently lead not only to blessing but also to an increased sense of our unworthiness before God. In reality, that is the greater blessing. Far more than whatever material things we might receive from the gracious hand of God for our obedience, because the sight of sin will lead to a plea for mercy and a deeper walk with God, the deepest and richest blessing known to man. We find almost a rerun of these events in John chapter 21, where Jesus reaches out in love to Peter, after Peter has denied him three times, and enables him to both acknowledge and repent of that declaration of unbelief, and then restores him to phenomenal usefulness in the Kingdom of God. 
 
In making that point, from near the end of Jesus' time on earth from John's gospel, we should note that Simon was not the only fisherman among the men to be amazed at what has just happened. Luke tells us that they all were, and he superficially mentions two of them, James and John, the same John who would write the gospel and that chapter 21. 
 
V10. Do not be afraid; from now on, you will be fishers of men.
See the pastoral heart of Jesus. He sees in the face of Simon and the other men fear, terror at what they had experienced. That tells us something of the sheer scale of what Jesus had just done. It was abnormal, it was supernatural, it was a miracle, and it had left these hardened fishermen visibly shaken. It wouldn't be the last time Jesus would have to tell these men not to be afraid, such was life with Jesus, because of the authority and power that he possessed and chose on occasions to purposefully wield. But it didn't end with fear. This episode ended with a promise from Jesus that they will become catchers of men. Men who, when they are caught, shall live, as opposed to fish which, as a result of their being caught, die. And so, Simon, James, and John left everything and followed Jesus, leaving behind them the huge haul of fish that would have provided a healthy financial return for their families. 
 
Give us sight, Lord, of your power and authority, that we would respond with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength in love for you.



A Psalm to Sing.
Psalm 1A. Link to the words. Link to it being sung. Sing with joy in your heart to God.



Memory Verse. 
The memorizing of God's word is good for your heart relationship with the Lord and as a defence against sin.
Psalm 121C v1-3, 
1. Unto the hills I lift my longing eyes; whence comes my aid? 
The Lord's my help, the heavens and earth by him were made. 
Your foot from stumbling he will always keep; 
the One who guards your life will never sleep. 
2. He who keeps Israel slumbers not nor sleeps By night or day.
The Lord keeps you, a shade on your right hand The Lord will stay.
Throughout the day the sun will never smite,
Nor will the moon afflict you in the night
3. You will be safe, protected by the Lord."
 
 
Truth for the Mind and Heart.
Westminster Shorter Catechism. Question 27 - In what did Christ’s humiliation consist?
Answer - Christ’s humiliation consisted in being born, and that in a poor circumstance; in being subject to God’s law; in undergoing the miseries of this life, the wrath of God and the curse of death on the cross; in being buried; and in continuing under the power of death for a time.                                                         
This is taken from https://matt2819.com/wsc 
 
 
Thank God.
Thank God that Christ has all authority in heaven and on earth, and yet he cares personally enough to see the fear on our faces.
 
Take care in Christ,
Andrew
 
Rev. Dr. Andrew Quigley