Sunday, February 28, 2010

When the earth moves

You are Simon son of Jonah. You will be called Cephas" (which, when translated, is Peter).
John 1:42 (NIV)

Earthquakes move rocks--and people. And when the ground under our feet begins to shake, our view of the world changes. Something like that happened to a first-century fisherman named Simon when Jesus came into his life.

The scene is the Sea of Galilee. The crowds had gathered to hear Jesus of Nazareth speak and a small group of fisherman cleaned their nets nearby after a long night of fishing. Jesus sat down to teach, using Simon's boat as a pulpit.

When Jesus finished His teaching, He turned to Simon--who was a captive audience at the time. His instructions to "put out into the deep water, and let down the nets for a catch" may have come across to Simon more like an order than a suggestion. (Luke 5:1-11) They ran contrary to everything he knew about fishing. Fishing in the Sea of Galilee was done at night near the shore; not in the daytime out in the deep. Even though he had been unsuccessful, he was certainly an expert. Consequently, it's logical that Simon responded, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything."

The story is told that the Duke of Wellington, the British commander who defeated Napoleon's forces at the Battle of Waterloo, once gave a command to one of his generals, who then responded that it was an impossible command to execute. The Duke told him, "You go ahead and do it because I don't give impossible commands." Jesus doesn't give impossible commands either--a truth Simon discovered when he ultimately obeyed.

Initially it may appear that Simon questioned Jesus' command. However, the text also says, "But because you say so, I will let down the nets." Even though all his professional knowledge told him it was a big waste of time, Simon did what he was told. What was the result? Although it seemed utterly impossible, a huge number of fish were caught at the wrong time and in the wrong way. Simon Peter found himself in the presence of the One who could do the impossible.

Simon's immediate response was not about all the fish he caught, but about the One who accomplished it. He recognized that he was in the presence of God, and he was "astonished" because what had transpired was beyond reason, description or explanation. Jesus revealed Himself as supreme in the realm where Simon was most familiar, most skilled and most adequate.

One commentator states that in Simon Peter's response, "Go away from me Lord; I am a sinful man," it's as if he says "I'm not worth it, Lord. Give up on me. I failed You when You called me before, and I will fail you again. Call someone worth Your time and trouble. Call someone You can trust. You once said that I'd be called Rock, but there's no rock in me. Give me up. I'm a sinful man." Yet Christ's love would not let Simon go.

Jesus laid claim to all that Simon was, and He began by using what little Simon had. He invited Simon on an adventure of faith that would radically transform his life, and Jesus was prepared to do whatever it took to make him into Peter, which means "rock."

We can learn a lot from Simon Peter's journey to become "rocklike." In the strength that only Jesus can give, we, too, can become stable and consistent. Are you ready to be moved, my friend?

Blessings, dear friend.
Faithfully Following


  1. YES, move me Lord, even disturb my life, as i stand in prayer & obedience, according to Your Will! ;)

  2. Thanks for stopping in for a visit at Nomad Wife. May you experience extraordinary "movement." Bonnie