As you read this story from Luke 5:1-11, keep three things in mind:
1. The great revelation comes in a totally unexpected way.
Peter has no idea that his whole life is about to change. That’s usually how God works. We’re just going on in life, business as usual, everything copacetic, doing our thing, and suddenly the Lord intervenes to redirect our steps. My own experience has been that you can’t predict this in advance. As Jesus pointed in John 3:8, the Spirit blows wherever he wishes. You never know when the call will come to “launch out into the deep.”
2. The great revelation comes in the course of daily obedience.
Fishermen fish. That’s what they do. In the first century, that meant going out on the Sea of Galilee at night, casting your nets into the water, fishing all night, and then coming ashore at daybreak. When the text says that Peter and the others were cleaning their nets, it means that the long night was over, and they were taking care of the nets so they could go fishing when night came once again.
Teachers teach. Singers sing. Cooks cook. And on it goes for all of us. Where do you begin in discovering the will of God? Do what you already know to be the will of God in your present situation. The way you discover God’s will for the future is to do what you know to be the will of God right now. So many of us live for those high mountain peak experiences, for those emotional moments, for those times when the clouds part and God seems so real to us. Almost as if we could reach out and touch him. When we say “God, show me your will,” what we mean is, “Lord give me some feeling, some insight, some spiritual revelation." And God says, “I have already shown you my will. Now, just get up and do it!”
3. The great revelation comes only after the small step of obedience.
Jesus first asked Peter for the use of his boat as a kind of floating pulpit to address the crowds that gathered on the shore. That was fine with Peter who was busy cleaning his nets. It was a small thing, really. But that small step of obedience led to the miracle that changed Peter’s life. You never know when one of those great miracles is around the corner, but they are more likely to come as we travel along the pathway of daily obedience.
Having agreed to let Jesus use his boat as a floating pulpit, Jesus now challenges Peter to a much greater step of faith. “Let down the nets for a catch.” So first we obey in small things, and out of the nitty-gritty of daily obedience, we discover a greater challenge looming before us.
Luke 5:1-11 tells us how Christ called Peter to be his disciple. The progress of this story is very simple. First Peter caught fish, then Jesus caught Peter, then Peter caught men. It all begins with a frustrated fisherman cleaning his nets after a long, hard night.
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