Reluctant Obedience . . . !
Rev. Sudha Mehta©
fishermen-in-boats-pulling-fishing-nets-kerala-india photo from videoblock
Luke 5: 1 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed on him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. 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. 4 Now when he had left speaking, he said to Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. 5 And Simon answering said to him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at your word I will let down the net. 6 And when they had this done, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net broke. 7 And they beckoned to 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. 8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. 9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: 10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, Fear not; from now on you shall catch men. 11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.(AKJV)
Remember Peter?! I wrote about him in the last post, I will write more in this post. When Jesus started His ministry, even before the disciples left their profession to join Him full-time, He was getting known for His teachings of the Word of God. One day by the shore when people surrounded Him to hear the Word, He asked to use Peter’s boat for a platform to preach from. The acoustics were much better that way and His voice would have carried well over the water and on the hillside so that the people sitting along the shore would have heard Him well.
Jesus preaching from boat photo the new emangelization
Peter, his brother Andrew, along with their partners James and John and their hired servants were all finished with their fishing trip at this point and were washing the nets when Jesus arrived on the scene. Upon His request, Peter put His boat a little out on the water even though he had just been wrapping things up.
Jesus needs your boat photo from livingforhim.tv
Now it was obvious that the men had no catch to show for this fishing trip, so when Jesus finished preaching:
vs. 4b He said to Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. (KJV)
Remember, these were seasoned fishermen. They went out fishing at night when the fishing was better. This night however they caught nothing. No fish meant nothing for the fish market on this day, but they still had to labor to clean and mend the nets and get things ready for the next night when they would try again.
This day, they were tired and wanted to go home even though they were disappointed and empty handed. They and their servants. I imagine they had other things on their minds like the bed awaiting, food awaiting, children awaiting, parents and wives awaiting their return . . . !
The last thing Peter wanted to do was to put out into the deep again and let down his nets. But, in obedience, he did. Obedience has it’s reward . . . although in this case, it was “reluctant obedience.”
He let down the net one more time, and amazingly, had a huge catch. So big was the catch that they had to call out to others to help. So abundant and heavy was the catch that the net could hardly contain them. More mending would be needed!
A little bit of information: this word “draught” in the King James Version is translated not as a “lack of or dry” rather it is defined as a drawing the net action to bring in the fish haul. The reason I am using the King James Version is to show you something else. The older versions of the Bible such as the KJV are often more accurate than many new translations as you will see in this instance. Lets read again:
vs. 4b He said to Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets(plural) for a draught. (KJV)
In the above verse Jesus says to let down your NETS (Plural). Tired Peter obeys, but does it half-heartedly saying:
vs. 5 Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at your word I will let down the net (singular).(KJV)
One net, that is all. Not all the nets as instructed, but only one! Can you imagine what kind of a haul they might have taken if he had obeyed completely and enthusiastically put down all nets. Can you see it?
When we welcome Jesus to use what is ours, He never leaves us without reward. Remember the little boy who offered to share his lunch in the previous post . . . he ended the day with twelve baskets full of leftovers to bring home to his mother. Here is another example of Jesus rewarding. Peter allowed the Lord to use his boat to preach from. He didn’t have to, but of course he did. The Lord rewarded him with a nice catch of fish. However, Peter missed out on a far greater blessing because his obedience was “reluctant obedience” unlike the little boy’s.
fish draught photo from strawberryfields.org.uk
We have a kind Master and a loving Lord. He blessed Peter and gave a wonderful haul, but was limited by Peter’s own choice of “reluctant obedience.”
How many times have you done that? I know I stand guilty! One good example is this very Blog and this very Blog post. When my daughter said, “Mom you need to write, you need to blog . . . !” I had all kinds of sad excuses why I couldn’t.
“I can’t type! I only use two fingers in typing!”
“I can’t pull my thoughts together cohesively!”
“I talk better than I write!”
“It’s been so long since I have written!”
“That is your thing not mine!”
“Permanent writer’s block!”
In short, I whined, whined . . . whined some more!!
Still upon her insistence I had her set up this site. It still sat there for many weeks, I didn’t say anything about it even to my husband. The gentle tug of the Holy spirit continued. Out of all excuses, finally and very reluctantly, I sat down and wrote my first post on the 3rd of June last year (2018).
“Reluctant,” very “reluctant obedience” has nonetheless brought me thousands and thousands of views all around the World in a little over a year. I can’t help but wonder what the result might have been if I had listened to His promptings about writing long before I actually did.
Now look at vs. 8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.(KJV)
Peter fell on his knees recognizing his own sin. He was ashamed of his sin now exposed. He saw that even his “reluctant obedience” without faith netted the catch. He saw God’s mercy but recognized his own shortcoming. He wanted to hide from the Lord in shame.
In fact vs. 9 and 10 say they were all equally astonished. This includes hired men and partners who had to come help.
vs.9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: 10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon.(KJV)
I know the shame Peter felt only too well. When I set on this journey with the blog I could only think as far as ONE person in some faraway country that might need this message of Christ. In a little over a year this blog has been viewed close to 900, 000 times by now. I am just as guilty, or more so than Peter for being shortsighted in my vision and reluctant in my obedience.
How about you? Have you ever stopped to think where you might have obeyed but only reluctantly? How many blessings have you forgone for simply not obeying? I suspect if you are anything like Peter or me, you can come up with some instances in your life where you could have done better.
Nonetheless, Jesus blessed him and the others.
Vs. 10b And Jesus said to Simon, Fear not; from now on you shall catch men. 11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.(AKJV)
first call photo from churchofjesuschrist.org
Their lives were transformed and they did become “catchers” of men. Their life-purpose changed. The disciples had waited for the Messiah. Now this long awaited Messiah was with them, but along with salvation that granted eternal life He gave them a purpose! The purpose went way beyond their own lives, their little town, and even their nation. The mission became, simply put: GO SHOW AND TELL! Tell everyone, and share and show the good news of the gospel. Go to the ends of the world, show and tell that God loves every human enough to send His only Son to pay the price for their sin so that they too might be saved and have eternal life.
How great is that?!
Our response to such revealing love would and should be the same as Peter’s. Peter was not asking the Lord to literally leave him, He simply felt unworthy of such love. It humbled him and he understood that someone far greater than he was in his boat.
Peter and the others (and I) learned that the LOVE AND MERCY of God extends to all who have sinned, and have fallen short of the measure. His sacrifice on the cross proved beyond all doubt that He loves all mankind and wishes only that they KNOW Him as Savior and Lord.
Like Peter and the disciples I have shared with you this Good News. How will you respond??!!
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