Growing deeper in our relationship with Jesus

Sunday, January 20, 2013

In Luke 5:1-11, it's been a long night on the job and Simon, James and John are a little discouraged because the hard work they've done hasn't amounted to anything -- they didn't catch any fish.

There are people everywhere listening to Jesus teach and these men are tired, ready to pack up and go home when all of a sudden the Jesus guy they've been hearing about gets into one of their boats and asks Peter to push off from the shore so he can teach from the water.

Simon, James and John listen to him teach and then Jesus says one of the lines in this story I like best: "Push the boat out further to the deep water." (Luke 5:4, TEV) He tells them they'll catch something there. After their long, fishless night of work, it's no wonder Peter has his doubts that there are even fish in the water available to catch. After his protests, however, comes Peter's response: "But if you say so." (Luke 5:5)

That's when these men are surprised with exactly what they were praying and working for all night: an abundance of fish. Their boats are weighed down and sinking with the blessings they've caught, and they are caught in amazement and wonder at the Man standing before them who somehow knew what they wanted and also just happens to be exactly who they need.

Peter tells Jesus he's unworthy, but Jesus calls Peter to him, transforming his fear into courage and taking him just as he is. Jesus needs a fisherman and wants Peter to use his knowledge of fishing to catch his people with love. Peter and the men leave everything and follow him.

I love the sequence of events in these verses. Jesus sees the men and their unfulfilled desires. He goes to them. The men listen to Jesus and so are able to hear his suggestion advising them how to put themselves in a position to be blessed. They obey Jesus' command and row themselves to the deep water, where Jesus amazes them. Then they find out that Jesus wants to work with and through them, fishermen, to bring others to the amazement of his love. That's an offer they can't turn down.

Even though it happened to three guys 2,000 years ago, it's also our story. Maybe we're not fishermen, but we're teachers, fast food workers, farmers, entrepreneurs, doctors, office workers, students, moms, dads, sisters, brothers, friends and strangers, and we all have the chance to go deeper in love, with Jesus and with each other.

These men's lives were changed because they listened and chose deeper water. They rowed deeper into relationship with Jesus, deeper into trusting him with their lives, deeper into trusting him to be good and to care about what was important to them. And Jesus didn't send them out on their own: he was in the boat with them as they paddled deeper and cast their nets for an abundant catch.     

Mia Pohlman is a Perryville, Mo., native studying at Truman State University. She loves performing, God and the color purple -- not necessarily in that order.

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