Sunday, March 08, 2009

Sunday Sermon Notes - 03.01.09

Jesus, Sin, and Simon the Fisherman.

As Luke tells the story, Jesus is intent on "catching" Simon Peter.  And Jesus intends to use Simon to "catch" others.  Jesus initiates his "catching Simon" plan by coming to Simon's hometown of Capernaum.  Once there he begins to teach with authority in the synagogue, cast out evil spirits, and thus attract quite a crowd.  Just before dinner Jesus makes a bee-line for Simon's home, the crowd in tow, and heals his mother-in-law of a fever.  She gets up, gushes out gracious hospitality, and then after the meal, during the cool of the day, even more people came to Simon's house to have their friends healed.

Jesus definitely had Simon's attention.

The next day Jesus shows up at Simon's boat - his home away from home.  Another crowd is there, listening to him teach.  Jesus asks to borrow Simon's boat as a floating pulpit, to which Simon agrees.  Once in Simon's boat, and finished with his sermon, challenges Simon to take the boat out fishing again.  Simon used nets, which worked best at night.  Simon protested Jesus' apparent ignorance, but there was something about Jesus that prompted him to go along with him.

As the boat slugged into shore with it's huge load of netted fish, Simon falls to his knees and acknowledges his unworthiness of this gift.  He cries out to Jesus, "Go away from me LORD; for I am a sinful man!"  

This is a very different reaction than the village of Nazareth or the town of Capernaum gave to Jesus.  Both of those places wanted Jesus to do stuff for them, and then some more stuff, and then more.  At no point is there record that any of the people in Nazareth or Capernaum reflected on who Jesus was or what this meant for them - beyond personal benefit.  But Simon - he had a very different reaction.

What's our reaction to the good stuff that God gives us?  Are we like Jesus' hometown? Simon's hometown?  Are we interested in what God can do for us - is it all about us?  At what point have you received good gifts from God, and your response was like Simon Peter's: I'm not worthy.

For many of us, we think that the good gifts we receive from God are for us.  They are, but they are not.  The good gifts are for us, but they are also for others.  God pours good gifts into us, usually from others, so that he can pour them into others through us.  So when we receive good gifts from God, thank Him, and then go on our way, we really miss the point and reveal where our heart is towards the LORD.  

When we receive good gifts from God, realize they are good and that they are an undeserved gift, and when we respond to God in humble gratitude, then we are in a position to receive more good gifts - but not for our sake, but for the sake of others.  

Jesus poured good into Simon so that Simon could be used of God as a source of blessings for others.  God used Simon to "catch" many more people for the kingdom.  Simon used to catch fish, which meant death for the fish and life for the one who consumed it.  But now Simon was going to catch people, and rescue them from death and point them in the direction of a new life.

Let God "catch" you and use you as a vessel for much good.  Let him pour the good into you, and then let him pour it out of you unto others.

Or is it all about you?

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