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Posts Tagged ‘boat’

I wonder if you’re like me and don’t greatly relish being told what to do at times.  Of course, it depends on who’s doing the telling – and what the context is.  But in general, I like to make my own mind up about things.

I remember my poor mother telling me more than once in an exasperated tone when I questioned why I had to do this or that: ‘Because I said so!’  I vowed I’d never say this to our own children – and yet they tell me I certainly did!  So perhaps it was because of all this that I noticed this same phrase recently in Luke’s Gospel.

In Chapter 5, the picture is painted for us of Jesus getting into Simon’s boat on the Sea of Galilee and asking him to pull out from the shore, so he can teach the word of God more easily from there to the people crowding around him.  Simon does that, but in verse 4 we read that when Jesus had finished speaking, he told him:

Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.

It seems Simon almost baulks at this.  You can hear the resignation in his voice as he replies:

Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.  But because you say so, I will let down the nets.

‘Because you say so’ – that was the clincher for him.  Simon seems to have seen and heard enough from Jesus to know that obeying him might be a good idea.  And sure enough, in the next few verses we read how they caught so many fish that the nets began to break.  They signalled to their partners in another boat to come and help – and as they hauled in all the fish, both boats began to sink! The passage ends with Simon Peter falling down in astonishment and awe before Jesus, as does his partners.  Then they pull their boats up on the shore, leave everything and follow him.

How would it be if we all had that same response to Jesus?  How would it be if I listened carefully every time to what Jesus tells me to do and then hopped straight in and did it?  Sometimes I do.  But sometimes I rationalise or procrastinate or am just plain disobedient too.

So this coming year, obedient to this prompting from God’s word, I’m choosing to say: ‘Lord, because you say so, I will “let down the nets” for another year with my writing and speaking.  I will put myself out there, so others can hear and respond to you, as you have gifted me – and I will leave the results to you.

May you hear God’s word for you too in 2010 – and may your nets be full to overflowing!

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There’s something heart warming about Peter, I reckon.  Of all Jesus’ followers, he seems to be the one most prepared to stick his neck out and have a go, whether by word or action.

In the story of how Jesus walked on water in Chapter 14 of Matthew’s Gospel, we read that the disciples were terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost.  Yet as soon as Peter heard Jesus’ voice telling them not to be afraid, he decides to ‘take the plunge’ – literally!  ‘Lord, if it’s you,” he says, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’  And when Jesus says to him one simple word – ‘Come’, Peter does exactly that.  Sure, he freaks out after a while and begins to sink, but Jesus is there for him, when he yells for help.  At least he had the courage to try.  At least he showed he trusted Jesus that much.

A couple of chapters further on, Jesus asks his disciples a simple question: ‘Who do you say I am?’  Peter is the one who answers unequivocally, with great faith and insight:  ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’   Yet in the same chapter, we read how Peter rebukes Jesus, refusing to believe the Son of God has to suffer and die.  Jesus in turn gives him an even sterner rebuke: ’Get behind me, Satan!’  Ouch!

And what about Peter’s firm assertion in John 13 to Jesus: ‘I will lay now my life for you’?  Yet we know that when Jesus was arrested and taken away to be crucified, Peter denied even knowing him.

But that’s not the end of the story.  In John 21, we read how Jesus, having risen from the dead, reinstates Peter, how he gives him a second chance to be the leader he was called to be.  And again, like that simple ‘Come!’ that got Peter climbing out of that boat, Jesus gives him another simple but profound instruction: ‘Follow me!’  And that is exactly what Peter did – even giving his own life in the process, just as he had said he would.

Stepping out of the boat might seem risky, but Jesus is there to walk towards, to give me a hand up, to follow forever – and I’m so glad of that.

How about you?  How are you at stepping out of boats?

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