We've started a new series for the new year on the life of Peter, launching with the passage in Luke's Gospel where Jesus asks if He can borrow Peter's boat as a pulpit. After he finishes His sermon, Jesus directs Peter to put out into the deep and let his nets down again for a catch of fish.
At first Peter protests that they've been fishing all night, but relents and reluctantly obeys. "Nevertheless at your word..." It's one thing to allow Jesus to borrow your boat. It's another to allow Him to direct your boat. As Peter obeys Jesus' direction to put out into the deep and let his nets down again, Jesus performs the miracle of a record breaking catch. It was the kind that needed no exaggerated fisherman tales.
The fishing miracle was Jesus' kind provision. But it was ultimately a metaphor for a new mission. "From now on you will catch men. And they left their nets and followed Him."
I have been arrested by Jesus' direction to put out into the deep, that preceded the miracle catch.
It is not only direction for mission. It is also direction for devotion.
Someone said that the most valuable resource in this century will be undivided attention. We have more devotional resources at our finger tips than ever before, yet all too often they cause distraction rather than devoted, undivided attention to Jesus. I fear that our information overload, our social media frenzy and our frenetic pace of life has left us paddling in the shallows, a mile wide and an inch deep in our devotion to Jesus.
Yet His voice echoes across the shallow waters of our time. Put out into the deep. Jesus is calling us to go deeper in prayer, in meditation upon His Word, and in committed communal worship with His church. He is calling us to carve out rhythms of solitude and sacred gathering in our frantic lives, that we might truly live. These spiritual disciplines are not an attempt to earn God's favor. They are a means of grace by which we access the mercy and help that are undeservedly ours through the Cross.
Devotion precedes mission. Peter had to put out into the deep before he caught fish and we would do well to take note of the order of things as we follow Jesus as fishers of men.
Jesus confirms this order of devotion before mission with another metaphor in John 15. "I am the vine you are the branches. Apart from me you cannot bear fruit. If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you will bear much fruit."
May this year be a year in which we discover depth of devotion to with Jesus, and may this depth produce a mighty catch and much fruit.
If you are looking for a good devotional resource to kick start your devotion this is the one I use. Bible in One Year