Here is some good news:
– God loves you and wants the very best for you.
– God wants you discover and live His best.
So how exactly do we go about discovering and living God’s best?
We see some great truths of how to do this in Luke 5:1-11. This story is referred to as “The Great Catch” and is about a fishing trip that changed the course of Peter’s life. In this story there are 3 Defining moments through which Peter discovers and begins to live God’s best.
This story is set on a large lake, referred to as the “Sea of Galilee.”
One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. 2 He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. 3 Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.” – Luke 5:1-4
When Jesus told Peter to “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets,” this made absolutely no sense. We are told that on Sea of Galilee, fishermen would fish at night, in shallow water.
Peter’s responds by informing Jesus ,
Master, we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing.” (vs. 5)
It’s important to note that when Peter referred to Jesus as “Master,” he was using a Greek word (epistates) that was a respectful title to one who is in authority, but not an acknowledgment of diety.
Peter reminds Jesus that he had “worked HARD all night” and hadn’t caught a thing. I imagine he was a little annoyed that a preacher (Jesus) was telling a professional fisherman (Peter) how to fish. But out of respect for Jesus, Peter reluctantly obeys. Peter says,
But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again. (vs. 5)
As he does this, we see the first defining moment for Peter:
1) He responds in obedience to Jesus.
Look at the result of Peter’s obedience…
And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! 7 A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking. (vss. 6-7)
Against the backdrop of Peter’s failure, God shows him what can happen as he does it God’s way… two boats filled so full with fish that they begin to sink!
Students, always remember, WHEN GOD DIRECTS OUR WORK, WE SEE RESULTS. God’s words can always be trusted.
We put faith in doctors because of the qualifications associated with their title (“M.D.”) We put faith in pharmacists because of the letters behind their name (Pharm D). Think about this… if you trust a doctor to diagnose a health problem and prescribe you medicine, and you trust that pharmacists to give medicine that will help you and not kill you because of the title associated with their name, how much more can you trust the one who has the title “King of Kings” and “Lord of Lords?” Don’t you think if there is anyone qualified to speak truth into your life, it’s the Creator of life!
That’s why we say “The Bible is a big deal.” It is the Word of God.
Let’s look at what happens next in verses 8-10,
When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man.” 9 For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. 10 His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed. Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!”
The second defining moment for Peter is when:
2) He acknowledges Jesus for who He is.
In verse 8, notice what Peter called Jesus. Previously he had called Him master, clearly a term of respect, but now he calls Jesus LORD. The Greek word translated Lord means “he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding”. (It comes from the word kuros, which means ‘Supremacy’.)
Peter now sees Jesus for who He is. He realizes that the one who did a miracle in the lake, wants to do a miracle in his heart.
Peter changed his response to Jesus from one of respect to one of Lordship and notice what he does:
- Falls At His feet.
- He took his eyes off of the blessing to look at the blessor.
In the terror of realizing his sinfulness, Peter wants to get away from the holiness of the Lord, but Jesus wants to draw Peter closer. Jesus says to him, “Don’t be afraid…” (vs. 10) We see here the beauty of repentance; it is the place we exchange our sin for God’s grace. We sometimes view repentance as an ugly thing, when in fact, it is such a beautiful thing. Repentance is responding to an invitation to experience God’s best.
…from now on you will fish for people.
Jesus not only receives Peter in repentance (draws him close), He tells Peter that he wants to use him as His instrument. Peter’s life is changed when he gets Jesus right. He learns the most important life lesson: It is all about Jesus. This leads to the third defining moment in verse 11,
And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.
3) He drops his net and allows Jesus to direct his life.
This response led Peter to “forsake all” to follow Christ, shifting the view of his future, career, and dreams. He left everything and followed Jesus. He realized that Jesus doesn’t want a place in our hearts or lives, He wants all of it. God doesn’t want us to fit Him into our plans; he wants us to submit our lives to His.
You may have dreams and desires, but God may have something bigger in mind. Jesus took Peter from having an occupation (“to take up space”) to a vocation (“calling”).
Most likely, God doesn’t want to change your dreams, but He may want to give you a different view of it. You see, your calling is to reflect the purposes of God through whatever vehicle He has given you. Because He is God, you can trust Him, and in trusting Him (allowing him to direct your path) you can experience His best for your life.
Before this life-defining fishing trip, Peter would have said that he was a “follower” of Jesus. But it wasn’t until he forsook all (“all in”) that he became a true follower of Christ and became on mission with Christ. When he walked off that beach that day, there was no doubt where he stood in his faith.
Today can be a defining moment in your life as you acknowledge Jesus for who He is and respond in obedience to Him today. You don’t have to “follow” Jesus from afar. You can intimately know Him and receive His best for your life as you allow Him to direct your life.
As we acknowledge Jesus for who He is & respond in obedience to Him, we discover God’s best for our lives. Live his best today!
As we acknowledge Jesus for who He is & respond in obedience to Him, we discover God’s best for our lives.
This devotional is one in Sugar Hill Church’s First 30 devotional series for college students.
To access the podcasts of this devotional and the entire series, click here.
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