Terms of EndearmentJanuary 22, 2015
Would You ‘Dip’ Seven Times?February 12, 2015
Hi, I’m Peter and I’m going to share with you the fateful day that started my personal journey with Jesus. Our friend Luke talks about this incident in his letter (Luke 5:1-11). You should read it because I’m only going to give you the highlights.
You see before that day I was aware of this Jesus guy and his impressive teaching, and had even seen him perform miracles. He had healed Ruth’s mom, my mother-in-law, when she was deathly ill. (I’m trying not to hold that against him)
But up until that day all I knew was about Jesus; I didn’t know him. Oh, I had already been introduced to him, and had even spent some time with him. My baby brother Andrew was enamored with him, so naturally I had been around Jesus several times. But if you had asked me in conversation, “Do you know Jesus?” I would have answered something like, “Yes, but we’re not close.”
Up until that day I wasn’t about to follow Jesus. I couldn’t, don’t you see? Of course he was a great speaker and a wonderful teacher, and of course he was friendly, personable, and even charismatic. But he was just a preacher. Okay sure, if I followed his teaching life would be better – anyone could see that. But to follow him? Out of the question.
Years later I would ask Jesus, “Why can’t I follow you now?” (John 13:37) I even proclaimed, “I will lay down my life for you.” Ha! Jesus knew then what he knew before this fateful day: not only would I not lay down my life for him; I wouldn’t even lay down my ambitions for him.
Jesus knew what I would soon learn, and have to continue to learn again and again over my lifetime: until I see Him for who He is, I can never see me for who I am. And until I can see me for who I am – a lost and blind sinner in desperate need of Jesus – why would I put anything, or anyone, ahead of … me?
That fateful day began with me having fished all night and caught nothing. Along comes preacher Jesus, and after teaching, he sort of commandeered my boat and said, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
“… let down your nets for a catch.” Who does he think he is? I’m the fisherman. He’s the preacher. This is my area of expertise. There were no fish to be caught. I can probably learn some good life lessons from this guy, but in the details of my life – the work details? Don’t be ridiculous.
What I learned that day is that fishing is just like any other profession: We do not control the outcome. This is obvious for us fisherman – there is skill involved, of course, but the fish are either there or not. But it’s just as real for everyone else, no matter what their profession – even in their family life. None of us, no matter how hard we try, control the outcome.
But he does.
You know the story. Our nets filled to almost bursting and even the boat was so full of fish we almost sank. Until that day I thought I was in control. I thought I had been a success because I was … me. What a fool. What a blind, lost fool I was.
Looking back on that day I can easily see why I didn’t yet know him: I didn’t even know me. How could I see the awesome, incredible power and majesty of this Savior of the world, when I had no need for a Savior? I was doing fine, thank you.
But when he became real, in the very details of my life, suddenly my eyes were opened and I could see him for who he is, and see me for who and what I was. Suddenly I cried out, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”
This was the start of my personal relationship with him. Where are you in your journey? Are you still stuck in neutral, or have you started, but now plateaued? Take a look in the mirror today and see yourself for what you are: a sinner in desperate need of Jesus.
See him; see you.
And let the journey begin!