Catching People with the Gospel
Jesus said to Simon, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.”
When you have a real experience with God, you realize it’s not about you; it’s about Him. You realize how unholy you are in the face of the One who is absolute holiness.
Isn’t that exactly the experience Job had? When Job had an experience with God, he said, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees You; therefore I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6). Remember, Job wasn’t a murderer, an adulterer, or a drug dealer. He was “blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil” (Job 1:1). Yet when he had a face-to-face confrontation with God, Job repented of his sin. When you come into the presence of God, you realize that there is a great chasm between God and you.
That was Peter’s experience in Luke 5:8. And how did the Lord respond? “Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men” (v. 10). In other words, “Peter, no matter what you were doing, you have a new beginning. You were catching fish, but now you are going to catch men.” That Greek verb used for “catching” in this verse means “to catch people alive.” This Greek verb is used only one other time in the New Testament, in 2 Timothy 2:24-26: “The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.” The only time this Greek verb is used in the Bible, other than in Luke, is in reference to Satan, who catches people alive.
We are born not as moral free agents but as prisoners of Satan. We are held captive by sin and by Satan. Remember this: Satan hates you and has a terrible plan for your life. And when you are born into this world, you are in his domain whether you realize it or not. Only the gospel of Jesus Christ can set us free from the domain of Satan and deliver us into the kingdom of God. Jesus was saying to Peter, “I invite you to join Me on this search-and-rescue mission, to help catch people alive, to deliver them from the grip that Satan has on their lives and to deliver them into the presence of God.” By the way, that is exactly the same mission that God has given you and me: “Come and join Me in catching people alive with the gospel.”
What was the disciples’ response? Luke 5:11 says, “When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.” When they realized who Jesus was, they left their boats–their means of livelihood. And apparently they also left behind the fish that they had been so excited about a few moments earlier. They left everything in order to follow Jesus.
~ Dr. Robert Jeffress ~
Jesus Knows Your Needs and is Ready to Help
When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms.
A man was trying to get across a river on foot with little or no success. He spied a man on horseback, took one look at him, and said “Please let me ride over with you on the back of your horse. I need to cross this river.” Sure enough, the rider lifted him up and took him across the river. The man on the horse was named Abraham Lincoln. When they reached the other side, those gathered on the bank who had witnessed this act of kindness said, “You wanted the President to take you across, didn’t you? The rest of us weren’t good enough.” But the man shook his head and said, “No, I didn’t recognize Mr. Lincoln. I didn’t know it was him.” His answer was met with disbelief. “Then why did you single him out, and ask him instead of all the other riders who crossed before him?” Without hesitating, the man replied, “That’s easy. He had a ‘yes’ face, and I saw it right away.”
Do you have a “yes” face? Are you approachable? Do strangers ever ask you for directions? Do friends ask you for help? Peter and John must have had ‘yes’ faces, because the lame beggar at the Beautiful Gate of the temple singled them out to ask for alms. But he got more than he bargained for. Peter and John were willing to help, but not in the way this beggar envisioned. Peter told him he had no gold or silver, but he was willing to give what he did have: healing. “In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene,” he said, “walk!” The truth is, the beggar at the gate had more gold than either Peter or John. But they had something he needed more than money. Jesus has a “yes” face. He is willing to help when we call on Him. But He knows better than we do what our true needs are. The question is, are we willing to call on Him, and to receive what He deems best for us?
~ Dr. Edwin Young ~
As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.” [Mark 5:36]
Loved by a God You Can Trust
The presence of fear does not mean you have no faith. Fear visits everyone. Even Christ was afraid (Mark 14:33). But make your fear a visitor and not a resident. Hasn’t fear taken enough? Enough smiles? Chuckles? Restful nights, exuberant days? Meet your fears with faith.
Do what my father urged my brother and me to do. Summertime for the Lucado family always involved a trip from West Texas to the Rocky Mountains. (Think Purgatory to Paradise.) My dad loved to fish for trout on the edge of the white-water rivers. Yet he knew that the currents were dangerous and his sons could be careless. Upon arrival we’d scout out the safe places to cross the river. He’d walk us down the bank until we found a line of stable rocks. He was even known to add one or two to compensate for our short strides.
As we watched, he’d test the stones, knowing if they held him, they’d hold us. Once on the other side, he’d signal for us to follow.
“Don’t be afraid,” he could have said. “Trust me.” We children never needed coaxing. But we adults often do. Does a river of fear run between you and Jesus? Cross over to him.
Believe he can. Believe he cares.
[Every Day Deserves a Chance]
You have promised to walk life’s path before us and show us the way. You don’t leave us to find our way alone. Even when the path looks uncertain and frightening, help us focus on you and your promise. Your presence strengthens us. You are a God we can depend on. You are our strong defender,
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river.
Who among you fears the Lord? Who obeys the voice of His Servant? Who walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely upon his God.
~ Max Lucado ~