Saturday, February 7, 2009

familiar nets ~

Matthew 4:18 reads, “Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw… Peter…casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And He said, Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” My son’s name comes from this verse...He can tell you that he will become a fisher of men, “catching them for Jesus!”

When I consider this call, I think, wow, what an invitation right?But, then again, not really… I don’t think Christ was politely asking …he was, in his wonderful authoritative way, commanding… Scripture says Peter immediately left his net and followed…why did he respond so quickly? Remember this was his livelihood…probably all he knew…and he had never met this stranger calling him so boldly from the beach…he had no obvious reason to go and no reason to follow…but this was his call to service and Peter’s response illustrates how authoritative, direct and powerful Christ’s commanding invitation must have been!

So I think, what familiar places am I willing to leave the comforts of for something presently I know nothing about? Have I entered into His authoritative command on my life to come and be a part of all that he has prepared for me? (Eph 2:10) Peter did, and what an amazing journey he began, journeys where he walked on water, and witnessed the many miracles of Christ…a journey miles apart from the life of a fisherman in the Sea of Galilee. I don’t want to miss my journey and the “big stuff” waiting there...I pray that I am not still holding onto familiar nets in my own Sea of Galilee.

Peter’s journey was one full of a zealous love and heart for Christ and His ministry. He was so full of passion...he truly “got it”…even Christ tells him that in Matt. 16:17. After asking His disciples “who do you say that I am” Peter answers, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.” And Christ says to him… “Blessed are you Peter, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you but my Father in heaven.” He knew now who the seemingly bossy stranger calling him from the beach truly was and what that meant for him. When I think of my children, this is what I pray for them...that they understand what flesh and blood cannot “reveal,” but only the pricking of their hearts by their “Father in Heaven.”

I hope I don’t just get it once though, I hope to keep “getting it,” I want to continue in understanding who this maker is that pursues me with an unquenchable love? I don’t know that I “get it” all the time, but I have moments, days and perhaps seasons like Peter’s…when I say… “Wow…You are the Christ”…I hope to keep getting to know this authoritative companion who walks with me in life, but who also holds my future in his hand. I want to keep “getting it” more deeply.

But it is so comforting to read that Peter still had moments of weakness and confusion… Matthew 26:58 describes the zealous believer who had just proclaimed Him “the Christ” now, after Jesus’ arrest, following behind him “from a distance”…ouch…now he is lingering further away from this redeemer and following him “in secret.” “What happened to you Peter?”…I want ask as I read…and then I stop and think of my own life…as much as I think “I get it,” I know that I have areas of my life that I find myself, like Peter…following “from a distance”… areas that are hard for me to fully give up control. …Nets that are too familiar to just drop and walk away from for the unknown that awaits in following my savior totally and completely…so I stop and reconsider Peter and his denial and distant following…and begin to search myself and creep closer to the provider of all my needs and strive to follow more closely and more completely.

One of my favorite parts in scripture about Peter is found after Christ’s death resurrection…Acts 4:13 “Now as they observed the confidence of Peter…and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.” Wow…what redemption…what restoration…what completion…He was fully living the call on his life…before he had been trailing his Lord at a distance, hoping not to be associated with this radical savior, and here we find him healing in the name of Christ and living in such a way that others were amazed and recognized him as “having been with Jesus.” Freed from the fear of association. I love the restoration and mercy this highlights for us all.

I too, want to try to drop my familiar nets…all of them…and respond quickly to the commands of Christ and his call on my life, leaving the familiar for the extraordinary, holding tight to the truth, striving to “get it” more deeply, giving over the areas that are “following at a distance” to the point that someday…hopefully…others recognize that I have been with Jesus. So for now…Lord…Show me the nets, help me to drop them and give met the courage to follow!

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