by Brock Benson
Sometimes technology fails us. For those of you who were out of town this past Sunday celebrating Labor Day and tried tuning into the worship service, the internet went down on so we couldn’t stream to our normal place on Facebook. However for those who of you who would like to go back and listen to the message you can click here. Or it’s on our podcast channel too.
The big idea and take away Sunday was giving ourselves up. In Luke 5:8-10 Peter had given himself up in his declaration to Jesus even though certain scholars might debate me on that. Regardless I think it’s safe to say at the most basic level this was the beginning of the sunrise for Peter’s salvation moment. The term “sinner” is the first time Luke uses the word in his gospel. And so we aren’t exactly sure what he means by it until later on in his gospel where we have more context and instances of its use. However we still know Peter is being shaped by Jesus in a profound way. Furthermore those near Peter are also being shaped by Jesus and their views are being expanded because of this whole fish catching episode. Some of those present are simply caught in the moment of excitement and some are seeing Jesus in a whole new way and their view of him is being expanded. From this point forward the disciples would continually have Jesus stretching and expanding their view of him. This leads me to reiterate a very important question from Sunday’s message – How big is our view of God?
If we have a limited view of God and he isn’t actively shaping and stretching us in new ways, we can be sure our motivation and desire to share who he is with others will be negatively affected too. Some practical suggestions I’d like to give are a few books. A.W. Tozer- The Pursuit of God, JD Greear – Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart, and Gospel Wakefulness by Jared C .Wilson are all books I can say with a high level of confidence would help in this particular area. Two of these I have in my personal library at the church office if you’d like to borrow them.
Luke 5:10 is the heart of the passage where Jesus connects the dots and finally issues the mission to the fisherman of Galilee they will now be involved in a new enterprise – People catching. One of the more profound points I think from the verse is Jesus initial instructions. “Do not be afraid.” In such an upbeat passage as this one is with all of the celebratory ideas we see happening why does he tell them not be scared? The New living translation translates verse 9 as people were awestruck at what had happened. I believe part of Jesus encouragement and instruction about not fearing is a crucial part of any evangelistic efforts we engage in. I think this is a main takeaway for those of us who are historically on this side of the passage. But in the moment of Jesus miracle I have to wonder if the direction to not be scared was because only he realized how deeply wounded their identity now was. Professional fisherman being out fished by the carpenter from Nazareth doesn’t go well on the fishing guide resume. And it doesn’t get you the big corporate sponsorships. Perhaps Jesus knew that to engage in evangelism as he was doing meant one had to be willing to deeply wound someone’s identity so they could know who their true identity comes from. Jesus was actively showing us his willingness to confront, love, encourage, and challenge all at the same time in his effort with the fisherman. This is evangelism and discipleship in its purest form.
Yesterday Cassie and I took the boys to see Incredibles 2.Kandler had already seen it once but this would be Garner’s first movie-going experience. He did great and I think he loved the movie except for a few moments when the music got really loud. Watching the movie reminded me of common strategy I think many of us have the capability of employing for gospel efforts but don’t take readily advantage of. (SPOILER ALERT: Please forgive me but I might end up giving away a little bit of the movie but I can’t help it because it stood out so clearly.) In the movie there were three major movements. Chosen Mom, Loving Dad, and a baby boy who helps the whole world see again. If you’re a believer those three movements should scream out to you the movements of our story. The Story of God redeeming us. My brother-in-law Kyle Reed shared with me several years ago something I won’t soon forget “every good story is retelling the story.” I’m misquoting his exact words but this was the essence of his thought. Since that point it’s been cool to see how this is so true. I’m deeply grateful the Bakers who lead Movies by Moonlight also subscribe to this philosophy by creating questions and thoughts for our feature presentations at MxM during the summer who help those in attendance see the gospel through the film.
Fishing in the first century wasn’t a leisurely past time like it is for a lot of us today. In fact in the NET bible it says this notes for Luke 5:10
The occupation of fisherman was labor-intensive. The imagery of using a lure and a line (and waiting for the fish to strike) is thus foreign to this text. Rather, the imagery of a fisherman involved much strain, long hours, and often little results. Jesus’ point may have been one or more of the following: the strenuousness of evangelism, the work ethic that it required, persistence and dedication to the task (often in spite of minimal results), the infinite value of the new “catch” (viz., people), and perhaps an eschatological theme of snatching people from judgment.
So many times I am passive about so many things including evangelism. I take too much of a God’s sovereign approach. (Which He is!!!!!) But watching Incredibles 2 with the family yesterday reminded me how God can use anything as a bridge to the gospel. But I have to be faithful to keep net casting so those who need to know the living God might.
Often I’ve thought of evangelism and discipleship as tracks and studies. I think both of those strategies have their place and time. But many of us are missionaries to people who are in many senses much like us. Building a wooden bridge between your driveway and your neighbors wouldn’t be natural when you can just walk right down the sidewalk. There are sidewalks all around us. Let’s learn to walk down them and see who’s on the other side.
May we become better fisher of men!
On the journey with you,