SER # 9W
FIRST UMC – NEBRASKA CITY
SUNDAY MARCH 1ST 2020
1ST SUNDAY IN LENT – COMMUNION
TEXTS: LUKE 5: 1 – 11
THEME: THE CALL OF THE FISHERMAN.
This the Sunday is the first Sunday in Lent. Lent season starts on Ash Wednesday and goes on for 40 days without counting Sundays. The 40 days of Lent might remind us of 40 years that the Israelites were in the wilderness on their way to the land of promise. It reminds us of 40 days when Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness. 40 is one of those numbers that are special in the bible (3, 7…)
This Lent season we are focusing on a study by Adam Hamilton called “Simon Peter: Flawed But Faithful Disciple.” Many here must have read something or heard something about this disciple Simon Peter. I know there are few things that stand for me when I hear the name Simon Peter. On the top of my mind is denial of Jesus three times, cutting the servant ear at the garden of Gethsemane, going back fishing and running to the tomb to confirm Jesus resurrection.
In this session we are going to examine Peter as a fisherman to learn what was special with this one fisher of fish who was turned to be a fisher of people. When he decided to follow Jesus, he was so committed in his own way to follow him up to the cross. But like us he sometimes missed the mark or failed to meet his commitment. But like Peter we have also given up something to follow Jesus even when at times we don’t live up to it. We can easily conclude that Simon Peter represents all of us as we seek to follow Christ.
Here are some of the lessons we can learn from Simon Peter:
- He was a Flawed yet Faithful Disciple: Peter was honest in his actions. Sometimes he let his emotions take over and start to act (like building of three tents during Jesus transfiguration). When Jesus approached Peter to borrow his boat to use as a pulpit to share the message to the people, he knew that he was a fisherman. Peter could have refused but he did not. Peter and his team had spent the whole night without any catch which was not very good for his business. It was not a very good morning for them. We do have some of those days don’t we? Just remember even with your bad day don’t deny Jesus request that might come like a small nudge. Like many of us Peter was no perfect person. Jesus was able to look at Peter with all his flaws and see what Peter would become when he accepts to take on the challenge of being fisher of people. The gospels paints Peter as “Bumbling, fumbling, and stumbling again and again. Each time Peter’s blunder serves to reveal some dimension of Jesus character or to make clear some aspects of Christ’s message.” Simon Peter: Flawed But Faithful Disciple by Adam Hamilton (P. 14) But Simon Peter represent us in many aspects. Like Peter we have chosen to follow Jesus and, in the process, we have given up something. Even when we have offered to die for Christ, we have found ourselves when circumstances become difficult, we have given up the quest. Like Peter we have missteps but by his grace he has called us back. Let us never forget that God is looking for those people who are willing and working hard to be Faithful, Available, and Teachable (F.A.T). We have to avail our gifts and talents so that Jesus can use them. Jesus used Peter’s boat, net, as well as hard working abilities he had learned from his fishing business to do mission work.
- God sees Potential: There is potential in each one of us. There is nothing like gift-less Christian says David Jeremiah and I agree with him. When Jesus looked at Peter, “Jesus saw past the unsteady, easily unnerved man Simon was. He could see what Simon one day would become; immovable, foundation, steady, strong. Jesus could see that one day the Rock would live into this auspicious name.” (Ibid P. 27) Jesus figured that one-day Peter will become the Rock on which he will build his Church. “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this Rock I will build my church, and the gates of hade will not overcome it” (Matthew 16: 18). Jesus is examining each of us today and he sees potential in you and me to serve him. Jesus used Peter’s background as a fisherman to get the best in a man who had to use his strength, thinking, qualities like patience, managing others to succeed in his fishing business. God is looking at us todays from our background and says to us ‘I see potential in a student, a mother, grandma and grandpa, farmer, teacher, business person, a doctor, carpenter and this list goes on. God is seeking to borrow what we have to convert to his use. Jesus borrowed Peter’s boat so that he could use to preach to the people. Today Jesus want to borrow your time, your skills, your abilities so that he can do exploits to the world where people have not known him yet. It is very easy to feel unqualified for what God is calling you, just remember you are not the only one. The bible is full of people like you who felt that they would not measure with the task that God was calling them to do. People like Moses, Jeremiah, Isaiah how about Mary the mother of Jesus. You think she would have counted herself to be the mother of our savior? I am sure not but in obedience she accepted the role. The challenge we have is whether we are willing to give our “nets and boats” like Peter for our master to use.
- Throw the net into deeper water: Jesus in this story of Peter where he invites him to go back to the lake and do some fishing was not easy on the side of Peter. Peter would have simply said to Jesus, we are so tired after the whole night fishing and catching nothing and now is our time to go home and sleep. He would also have given an excuse that they had already cleaned the nets for the night fishing. Peter would have also reminded Jesus who was not a fisherman that fish are usually caught at night and now is day time. But we see in Peter a level obedience to Jesus for he says, “But because you say so, I’ll drop the nets” (Ibid. P.34). Simon Peter was reluctant but when he obeyed something special happened. They had such a big catch that they called for help. Like Peter we have to learn to overcome all excuses that might make us not do what is right. Sometimes we will discover that those things that we were reluctant in doing bring us more joy in the end. When we feel that nudge to visit someone, give something, be present, go on a mission help with something, when we say yes the end will be very rewarding more than you expected. The other lesson we can find here is that people don’t fish in shallow waters but we have to be ready to get into the deeper waters: This calls for us to trust the one who has invited us to this fishing expedition and that is Jesus Christ himself. The net that Peter threw in the water is a metaphor that Jesus is using as a mission too and the sea as mission field that we do to reach out in the world with the word of God. We draw people to the Kingdom of God. What Jesus is calling us all today is to go out and be fishers of people. We have to be willing to go in ‘deep waters’ and never be afraid in order to co catch his people for the kingdom. Peter thought it was an impossible preposition that Jesus was putting to him when they have been out the whole night without a catch, but he was proved wrong. Peter in his final response to the miracle of the catch to Jesus was, “Leave me, Lord for I am a sinner!” But Jesus responds to Peter was by telling him not to be afraid for Peter was going to be given another job, which was to be a fisher of people. With Jesus guidance Peter in his life time brough many to his master who had given him the assignment. Peter was going to do great things for the Lord this was just the beginning.