Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Miracles of Love: The Great Catch of Fish

The miracles of Jesus weren't just to show off. They were to show love.

The Miracle of The Great Catch of Fish
One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, "Depart from me because I am a sinful man, Lord." For he and all his companions, which included James and John, were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken.

Jesus said to Simon, "Do not fear. Follow me and from now on I will make you become fishers catching men." When they had brought their boats to land, they immediately left their nets and everything and followed Him.

Knowing the Giver is the Ultimate Gift
Jesus did a miracle of love. We often think of miracles as simply signs and wonders but Jesus' miracles were acts of love. What man who fishes for a living wouldn't love catching such a large amount of fish? Healing and giving are acts of love. Jesus restored people and set them free. When He turned the water into wine He turned it into good wine with a taste that pleased the people at the wedding. Miracles shouldn't be viewed only as "Wow God!" but "Wow God loves us!"

I'd like to point out that "follow me" doesn't just concern Jesus' leadership but also His companionship. These men spent years with Jesus. They weren't trailing and trembling. They were loved by Jesus, open and free to be themselves.

Here is another thing we should be careful not to miss. Jesus just gave these men more fish than they could dream of ever catching yet they left the miracle to follow the man. The miracle was meaningless compared to the man. The gift pointed to God the Giver. Too often people make the gift into God and throw God out with the packing peanuts. These men dropped the gift and followed God the Giver. What a perspective to have! To be so enthralled with God that you leave what seems to be the gift of a lifetime.

May we start being more grateful for the Giver than the gift. May we marvel at the Messiah more than the miracle. May we not be more consumed with receiving than we are with our relationship with Jesus.

The Miracle of God Not Counting Sins Against Us, The Removal of Shame
Jesus and Simon Peter had already met (John 1:35-42). That is why he called Jesus "Master," a worldly term meaning "one of a higher rank." The miracle caused Simon to recognize Jesus as "Lord," a term Jews used for God. But Simon's shame over his sins caused him to fear Jesus. Jesus ignored Simon's sinful state. He didn't count it against him. Jesus said to him, "Do not fear. Follow me." If only we would realize that this is Jesus' response to all sin!

The father in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) wasn't concerned with what his son had done. He just wanted to celebrate with him. When he returned the son in that story said, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son." What a statement of shame! He basically said, "My guilt from sin is so great I am invaluable in your sight." So many people think that, both lost and saved, but what they don't count on is the love of an incredible father.

Like Jesus did to Peter the father ignored the sin and feelings of shame and immediately said, "Quick let's celebrate because my son is now with me!" Please realize and remember, this reaction is exactly what it looks like for God to "no longer remember the sins of His people" (Hebrews 8:12,10:17). He forgot your sins before the confession of your sinful state could leave your lips.

God says to all who come to Him, "Do not fear. Come with me and let's celebrate! We will invite others to the party so they too can enjoy my gracious love!"

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