Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – February 23, 2019
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” Luke 5:10 (NRSV)
As a child, this verse was one of my favorites. We read it in Sunday School, sang songs about it, and acted it out with great enthusiasm and vigor. Now decades later, as I reflect upon these words, I continue to be deeply moved by the invitation of Jesus to join him in his great rescue mission.
Most fishermen wouldn’t view the act of catching a fish as a “rescue”. I’m quite certain that the fish would prefer to not be rescued in this way! While Jesus is taking advantage of the object lesson in front of him, “catching fish” doesn’t fully grasp the heart of his invitation to Simon Peter.
In the big story God is telling over creation, his goal is not to catch people in the same way we catch fish- to trap them and consume them. Instead, the idea of catching is more closely related to that of taking prisoners alive. And though in practice our system often comes up woefully short of the ideal, at its best, the penal system is meant to be restorative and regenerative. People are “caught” in order to move forward in redemptive ways.
God desires to catch everything that stands in opposition to his coming Kingdom. He seeks to breathe new life into it and to restore the whole of creation to his original intent, and this includes you. Though you may feel unseen or unloved, the Lord Jesus seeks you out and longs to bring you into the joy and wonder of his Kingdom. He also sees the things in your heart and life that keep you from flourishing – jealousy, selfish ambition, envy, anger, greed – and longs to catch them so you can be free.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).
As you and I encounter the glorious freedom that comes from knowing Christ, we who are liberated are at the same time invited to join Jesus in the work of liberating others. We are set free, not simply to not return to old habits and ways of life, but to find people in their places of great need, sorrow, and loss and invite them to encounter the restorative love of God shown in Jesus Christ. This is what it means to join Simon Peter in the beautiful work of “catching people.”
Father, as you set us free would you also give us the courage to join you in your work of redemption and restoration? Amen.
How can you be an agent of God’s grace to someone in need today?
Though you may feel unseen or unloved, the Lord Jesus seeks you out and longs to bring you into the joy and wonder of his grace. #WisdomHunters #rescued
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