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Peter's Off To a Slow Start

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. Luke 5:1‭-‬11 NIV

Let's picture this, the film version of this passage. A rising star is addressing a growing crowd. In the absence of a PA system those at the back can barely hear a word He's saying. More are joining by the minute but they definitely can't hear a anything other than rustling and whispering. So pressure is building and the crowd is slowly but inexorably moving forward pushing the speaker into the gently lapping waves.

A hundred metres down the shoreline the speaker spots a couple of boats. There's a few fishermen there, completely disinterested, they were tired having finished a night shift, not in a good mood having caught nothing but seaweed. Jesus asked them a favour, can you please put your boat out so as to turn it into an impromptu stage?

Peter found himself as a stagehand, right next to the star of the show, a position that just about everyone in the crowd was really envious of. He heard and took in every word but once Jesus's sermon was over, none of the Gospel writers record any questions, discussion or interaction from Peter, but to be fair he was extremely tired. Maybe, but nevertheless Peter was apparently impervious to the sermon that hundreds strained to hear, hanging on every word.

Jesus thanks Peter for the use of his boat by asking him to try fishing one more time. It was only at this point that the fog lifts and suddenly it dawns on Peter, that this is not just an eloquent speaker, no this guy has the qualities and power over nature that only a Heavenly being possesses. Suddenly Peter's afraid, but Jesus reassures him with a calling that Peter readily accepts.

Compare and contrast with the calling of Matthew. Matthew 9:9 - As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. Granted, Matthew was one of the last disciples to be called by which time Jesus's crusade had already gained some momentum.

I take from both these accounts that if someone has the capacity to accept the salvation of Jesus, there's no limits that God will go to, in pursuit of that person. There was no one with the capacity or guts to witness to that firebrand Jewish fundamentalist, Saul of Tarsus. That was a hard one to crack and so it took the direct intervention of Jesus Himself to deliver His intervention and the conversion of Saul. Read Acts chapter 9.

God's love for us is truly without limits. Our poor choice put us on a trajectory to Hell, so you can only begin to imagine the gut wrenching pain God suffered when we were seduced by sin and rejected Him. But such is God's love, He was prepared to put all that aside and invite us back into the fold but whilst desirable, the invite was quite unfeasible. It needed the death of God's precious son to make it even possible. That was quite literally, 'a hell of a price to pay', but to God one worth paying, He did not need time to think about it. That is the extent of God's love for you.

That opened the door, the invite was for all, but the invite needs to be delivered so that everyone receives it, and not only receives it but are entreated and enticed to accept, repent and follow Jesus. Nobody should find them excluded from Heaven by abstaining. Pray that each one of us reaches out in love to those around us, pray to for wisdom straight from the Holy Spirit giving us the approach and connection needed to draw people towards God. I say approach and connection rather than words because these are so much more effective than a mini sermon. I also believe we should focus upon the Gospel rather than an invite to your church. The Gospel is so much more life transforming than a visit to a church service that may or may not seem relevant to the unbeliever; with all due respect to your church.

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