Points To Ponder/There Is Power In Obedience
by Pastor Dennis Whitmore
In Luke 5, Jesus is preaching and teaching the word of God to the multitudes. Simon (later to be called Peter) was among them. At the conclusion of his message, he told Simon to take his boat out, cast his net, and bring in a catch of fish. Simon had been fishing all night and caught nothing, but because Jesus said to do it Simon launched out.
In verse 6, Luke says, “And when they had done this they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.” Then they called their partners in the other boat for help. Soon, both boats were filled “so that they began to sink.” (v.7) This miracle so convicted Simon of his own sinfulness and inadequacy that he immediately fell to his knees before Jesus and begged Him to leave. Jesus replied to him and James and John, his partners, that there was nothing to fear. From that point on they would be catching people, not fish. Then, Luke reports, they dropped their nets and followed Him.
Let us reflect on some of the points we find here in Luke 5:1-11. First, we have a multitude of people who have come to hear the word of God. You may be among them. From that point, Jesus says to the fisherman there, “Go out and fish.” Never mind that they “already tried that and it did not work...” Simon, speaking for them all, said (in essence) “It did not work before, but I believe in you Jesus. If you say try it, then we will go try it.”
Reflect on that. How often do you hear the word of God or read very clearly from your Bible that you ought to go and do a certain thing? Many of us are hearers, but few are doers. That takes risk. It involves discomfort. It also involves a decision to go against your own reasoning and risk being embarrassed on the one hand (for failing again); or perhaps even worse, being proven wrong. Sometimes God is glorified in our being proven wrong, but we still do not like it, do we?
I note also in this passage that the catch of fish was breaking their nets and sinking both of their boats. Interesting. Perhaps twelve hours earlier or so, the man caught nothing. The fish were there, but they caught not even one. Then they went back under the command of Jesus Christ. He said go, and because He said it, they went. The result? The total capacity they possessed for catching fish was not only maximized - it exceeded what they knew was possible even under ideal conditions. In other words, their nets and the size and number of boats was determined by their experience and knowledge of fishing.
Paul describes the Lord as He “who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” (Ephesians 3:20) The power works where? IN US. How? By faith, and through obedience. Simon and his buddies were in the congregation hearing the word. Then when Jesus gave them a command, they obeyed. If they had said no, then the power which comes by faith and works in the believer would not have been seen or experienced.
Simon experienced that power working in him. He saw the catch and realized, “Hey this is not me! Only God could have done this.” The power of God is abundantly available to the obedient. When He is working through and in us, it should make us aware of our natural inadequacy and His abundant glory and presence.
Is it time for you to do more than hear the word? What is the next step YOU need to take?
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves... he who looks into the perfect law of liberty (the implanted word written on our hearts) and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:22,25)
Okay, what you know is right. Have faith in the word of God, even when you do not understand. The power at work in you cannot fully work until you decide to walk in it. (II Corinthians 5:7)
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Whitmore serves God at The First United Methodist Church in Laurel, Maryland.