Follow Me

He Did! Series - Part 5

he-did-capssmallerI want to tell you a story.  I want to tell you a Bible story.  Bible stories are the best kind of stories of all, do you know why?  Because they are true.

Now in the last few weeks we have been talking about the miracles of Jesus. Can anyone name one of the miracles we discussed?

Now I want you to remember that Jesus performed hundreds of miracles, only some of them were written down, and I only got to choose eight to share with you.  So I tried to pick eight that would really illustrate who Jesus is.

In this story, we see a truly awesome miracle that should give us hope when we decide to follow Him.

Now in this story Jesus had been busy all day teaching people about Heaven and God, and it is getting late.  Jesus wanted some time alone to pray. Prayer was a big deal for Jesus.  He always spent time with His Father, God.  He did it all the time.

So, He could have some time alone, He told the apostles to head across the water without Him, and He would catch up later. Now that might sound weird to us, that the apostles would take the boat, and Jesus would catch up later.  How?  Would He rent a boat from someone else? Did He know someone that they didn’t that could give Him a ride?  At this point, the apostles are so used to Jesus being able to do anything, I mean He had just fed 5000 people.  So they go, and they leave Him behind.

While they are in the boat, a wind starts to blow against them.  The waves are high and they are beginning to get a bit nervous.  Last time they were in a storm, Jesus had been in the boat, and they were fine.  This time, they are on their own. So, it takes them a long time to cross.  They are still trying to sail over, and dawn is coming.  Sure enough, they see someone walking on the water, and it’s Him.  It’s Jesus.

However, the apostles don’t recognize Jesus and they think it is some kind of ghost.  So they all get scared. When Jesus hears them crying out in fear, He tells them to not be afraid.

When they recognize Jesus they calm down, and Peter yells out, if it is you Lord, tell me to come to you on the water.  Holy Smokes!  Peter, who gets so many other things wrong, immediately assumes that Jesus can help him to walk on the water too.  He wants to be where Jesus is, even though it seems impossible.

Jesus answers, “Come.”   How cool is that?  Peter actually steps over the side of the boat and steps onto the water.  He starts walking toward Jesus when he notices that the wind is still stirring up the water.  The waves are a little high, and Peter realizes that if it weren’t for Jesus he would drown.  This water is to wild for him to swim, so he gets scared, and as soon as he takes his eyes of Jesus, he starts to sink. He yells for Jesus to save him.

Well, we know that Jesus isn’t going to let Peter drown.  Jesus grabs Peter’s hand and pulls him back up.  Jesus tells Peter, “You of little faith… why did you doubt?”  Peter had just seen what Jesus could do.  Peter had just walked several steps on the water  and didn’t drown, why would he suddenly believe that Jesus couldn’t keep him safe?  Why did he suddenly forget that Jesus couldn’t save him? Any ideas?

After Jesus pulls him up, they walk back to the boat together.  I guess Peter remembered who Jesus was.  Or maybe the waves aren’t so scary when you are holding God’s hand.  I think there is a lesson here for us.

What do you think the lesson is?

Our lesson here, is that Jesus is God and He can do anything.  He can pull us through any scary moment.  He is enough to save us from anything.  All we have to do is look at Him, trust in Him, call out to Him.  He can keep us safe when we shouldn’t be.  Jesus once said, that things that are impossible for men are possible for God.  He can save you.  He can help you to do amazing things. He can guide you safely across the water, and you don’t need to be afraid if He is with you.

Let us pray…

Fishers of Men

He Did! Series - Part 4

he-did-capssmaller

I want to tell you a story.  I want to tell you a Bible story.  Bible stories are the best kind of stories of all, do you know why?  Because they are true.

It’s important that you know that the Bible is true, because it means you can trust it.  It means that no matter how crazy or miraculous something is, it means you can trust it.  When I tell you that a guy built a boat and put two of every animal in it, and then it rained for 40 days and 40 nights, I want you to believe it.  Because if you can believe that, then you can believe Jesus when He says I love you.

I want you to believe that another guy was swallowed by a big fish for three days, and then was spit out on land and he was fine.  I want you to believe that so that when Jesus says, I will never leave you, you will believe it.  I want you to believe that three guys were thrown in a fire and didn’t get burned, so that when Jesus says, I will save you, you will trust him.

I also want you to believe this miracle from Jesus, because it’s also true.  In this story, Jesus is just starting out in ministry.  He is talking to a group of people on the shore about God, and he sees Peter in his boat.  He calls Peter over, and sits in the boat and preaches from there.  After a bit of preaching, he tells Peter to sail out a ways and put the nets in the water to catch some fish.

Now, before we go any further, you must know something about Simon Peter.  Peter wasn’t just some guy that happened to have a boat.  Peter was a fisherman.  Not just that, his brother and his father were also fishermen.  He had been near the water his whole life.  He grew up fishing.  He had probably forgotten more about fish than I would ever know.  Do any of you guys know anybody that can fish like that?

So, when Jesus, a preacher, tries to tell Peter how to fish, it probably didn’t seem like He knew what He was talking about.  Peter even tries to explain to Jesus that it’s not a good time for fishing.  It’s the middle of the day, and when it gets hot the fish go to the bottom where it is cool.  Even someone like me that doesn’t fish knows that part.

So, Peter tries to tell Jesus, we’ve been fishing all night and it’s just not a good spot.  It’s not a good time.  However, Peter does something that is important here.  Even though he thinks, even though he believes, even though Peter knows that they won’t catch any fish, he tells Jesus, that he will obey.  Peter says, “But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

Peter does what Jesus asks of him, even though he knows with all of his experience, learning, knowledge and heart that it won’t work.  But even though he doesn’t believe, he does it anyway.  He doesn’t believe, but he obeys. Why?  Just because Jesus asked him to.  Think about that for a minute…

Then comes the miracle.  When they try to pull the nets up, they are so heavy, that they almost break.  The weight of the fish is so great, that the boat starts to sink and they have to call to other boats to help them.  At that moment, Peter looks at the teacher, who shouldn’t know more than the fisherman, and he can’t handle it.  He apologizes to Jesus for not believing in him. He admits to Jesus that he had the sin of pride, the sin of doubt, and that he isn’t worthy to be near Jesus.

Does Jesus scold him?  Does Jesus yell at Peter?  Does Jesus send Peter away?  No.  Not our Lord.  Jesus has compassion for proud Peter and tells him to follow.  He asks Peter to join him in ministry.  He tells Peter, that he will teach him to be a better fisherman, but instead of fish, they will fish for people.

What does that mean?  It means that Jesus is going to teach Peter to be in ministry, so that instead of catching fish he will be teaching people about God.  The bait will be the Word of God, and the reward will be more believers for the Kingdom of Heaven.

Why did Jesus do that? Peter just admitted he wasn’t a good guy.  He just called himself a sinner.  He wasn’t a preacher, or a guy that worked in the temple.  He was a fisherman, and he didn’t know anything about ministry.  Jesus could have gone and found someone more qualified.  He could have found someone more educated.  Instead, Jesus picked Simon Peter, the fisherman that didn’t believe.  Why?

He picked Peter because he was willing to obey even when he didn’t understand.  To cast your nets into the water, even when everything tells you not to, requires faith.  He was willing to do whatever Jesus wanted him to do, even if it didn’t make sense.

So… what about us?  Are we willing to do whatever Jesus asks, even if it seems crazy?  Are we willing to throw our nets in the water, even when we believe nothing will happen?  Are we willing to foolishly obey, because we have faith in Jesus?

I know what you’re thinking… Jesus hasn’t asked us to do anything, but you see… He has.  Jesus has asked you to believe in Him.  Jesus has asked you to follow Him, just like He asked Peter.  He is asking you to believe that He can save you.  He is asking you to believe that He loves you… even when you aren’t very lovable.  He is asking you to be His, heart and soul.

Let us pray…