Lent Series: Parables about Farmers and Seeds

Crowds continued to follow Jesus wherever he went. On this particular day, Jesus sat in a boat to teach the crowd surrounding him. He shared stories which are called parables so people could understand his teachings easier. Most people, like myself, were common and didn’t have the learning like the scholars, rabbis and priests. Today he shared several stories about seeds and harvesting to explain the kingdom of heaven.
 
I am only going to share two of the stories as I remember these the best. The first is about a farmer scattering some seed across a field. Some fell on a footpath, others on shallow, rocky soil, some among thorns and others on fertile soil. Birds came and ate the seed on the footpath. The ones planted in the shallow soil wilted under the hot sun and died. The seeds among the thorns were choked and died. Finally, the ones on fertile soil grew very well, producing so much it was as much as one hundred times more than planted.
 
I understood how this happens as I have seen Father planting seeds in our garden. Birds love to come and eat up the seeds that don’t go into the soil. Every week or so, Father, my brothers and sisters and I would help to pull out the thorns and weeds so the seeds can grow. But the ones which were planted on good soil grew very well and we had a good harvest.
 
I thought this was good teaching, but what does this mean. Thankfully, Jesus explains the parable. He said the seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the kingdom of God without understanding it. The adversary comes along to steal the seed planted in the heart. No one was there to help explain the message to them. Then there was seed on the shallow and rocky soil. These represent people who hear the message, receive it with great joy, but their roots do not grow deep, so they end up falling away as soon as problems arise or they are persecuted. The seeds that fell upon the thorns are like people who hear God’s word but the message is strangled by the worries of the world and the desire for wealth. Sadly no fruit is produced. The final seeds that were planted in the good and fertile soil represent those who hear and understand God’s Word. They end up producing as much as was planted in their hearts plus much more, and they begin to share those seeds with others.
 
Oh, how I pray I do not lose the joy of knowing Jesus. I want my roots to grow deep so when storms of life come, I am not crushed under the pressure. I want to understand God more and more. I want to learn, I want to grow, I want others to know about Jesus and his message of heaven.
 
The second parable Jesus shared was about wheat and weeds. This is another farmer story. A farmer planted seeds in a field. During the night the enemy planted weeds in the field within the wheat. We call these weeds tares. The crops began to grow well together. The workers saw the weeds and asked where they came from.
 
The farmer explained the seeds came from the enemy who wants to destroy all the crops. They asked if they should pull up the weeds and the farmer said no. If they tried to, they would pull up the wheat as well. The farmer told them to let them grow until the harvest. The harvesters then will sort out the weeds, put them into bundles and burn them. The wheat then will be stored in the barn.
 
I have seen this happen so many times on my friends’ farms. It can be very frustrating to see tares growing up with the wheat, but at harvest time, there is usually plenty of wheat left to store. I wondered what Jesus was trying to get us to understand with this parable. So I stuck around when everyone else went their separate ways. Jesus went into a house nearby and explained the parable to His close disciples.
 
He tells them that He as the Son of Man is the farmer planting the good seed. The field is the world. The good seed represents the people of the kingdom, those who follow Jesus. The weeds are those who belong to the adversary. Satan has planted weeds among the wheat. The harvest will be at the end of the world and the harvesters are God’s angels.
 
Just as the weeds are sorted and thrown into the fire, it will be the same at the end of the world. Jesus will send his angels who will remove everything that causes sin and evil and throw them into the fiery furnace where weeping and gnashing of teeth will be. The righteous ones will shine like the sun in their Father’s kingdom. We should listen to his words and understand.
 
I do pray I will be counted among the faithful. I don’t want to fall into the trap of the adversary. I desire to shine like the sun. Sheol- death, forever death, weeping and gnashing of teeth is not something I want to be a part of for eternity. The sound of it is horrible.
 
Oh Jesus, I really want to be in your kingdom. Keep the adversary away from me. Help me to hide under the shadow of the Almighty. Cover me under your wings.
 
For further study:
Matthew 13:1-28, 36-43; Mark 4:1-20, 26-29; Luke 8:4-15
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Lent Series:  A Sinful Woman Anoints Jesus

One evening, a Pharisee named Simon invited Jesus to come to his house for dinner.  Jesus went into the house and sat down to eat.  I saw a woman go into the house.  She was well known in the community for prostitution and other sins.  I wondered what she could be going in there for.  Didn’t she know who was there?  After what I saw next, I knew she did.

The woman had heard Jesus was going there for dinner.  She brought an alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume.  She was shaking as she knelt behind Jesus.  She slowly opened the jar and then began to pour perfume on Jesus’ feet.

Trembling. Shaking. Tears began to fall.  This woman wept, her tears falling on his feet.  She wiped the tears and perfume with her hair.  She could not stop doing this.

I was moved to tears myself seeing the love poured out upon Jesus.  Oh, how I wish it was me doing this.  How I love Jesus and somehow want to tell him.  I want to tell Him how much he means to me.  This lady didn’t worry about protocol or what others thought, she just came in and poured out her love.

The Pharisee who invited Jesus to the house was looking at the woman with disgust obviously knowing who she was.  Jesus must have known what he was thinking.  He looked at Simon and said, “I have something to say to you.”

Simon tells him to go ahead.  Jesus shared a story with him about two people having debts to pay.  One was given 500 pieces of silver and the other 50.  Neither one of them were able to pay the money back.  The man who gave them money had pity for the two men and forgave them their debt.

Jesus asked Simon which one loved the man more after the debt was forgiven.

Simon answered, “I supposed the one who had the most debt.”

Jesus told him he was correct.

Jesus then looked at the woman and said to Simon, “This woman here has been washing my feet with tears.  You didn’t offer to wash the dust from my feet.”

I had wondered why the guest didn’t wash Jesus’ feet. It is customary for the head of the house to wash the guest’s feet before a meal- cleanliness is important to Jews.  Having dusty feet at the dinner table really wasn’t acceptable.

Jesus then continues.  “Simon, you didn’t greet me with a kiss, but this woman has not stopped kissing my feet.  You neglected the courtesy of anointing my head with olive oil, but she has anointed my feet with expensive perfume.”

I don’t think Simon really considered Jesus as a proper guest.  I think he was more curious about Jesus and wanted to get more of an idea of who he really is and what he is like.

Jesus looked tenderly into the woman eyes and says to her “Your sins are forgiven.”

The other men around the table began talking amongst themselves, “Who is this man, that he goes around forgiving sins?”

Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

The woman’s eyes lit up.  She slowly rose up from the floor and smiled.  She looked like a different person from the one that came into the house earlier.

This woman was forever changed.  The last I heard she was doing really well. Others could not recognise her as she cleaned herself up and was different from the inside out.  She glowed with joy.

After seeing what Jesus did for this woman, I had to come and talk to him afterwards.  My soul has been tormented for years and I have heard many voices in my head trying to tell me how awful I am, no one loves me, I am stupid, and  I should kill myself.  I have no idea if I have hurt anyone but I know since seeing Jesus, the spirits inside of me have been fighting against my desire to know Him more.

I did go see Jesus.  He saw the pain and sorrow in my eyes.  He saw how my body was tormented and how much I struggled.  He touched me and healed me!  He released seven demons out of me!  I cannot begin to tell you the relief I feel, the freedom, the joy, the deeper love I have for Jesus.  Oh,  how I wish I had something to give him just as the woman did with the perfume.  I just love Jesus so much I want to always be with him. (Luke 8:2)  Hallelujah!

Notes-

*The word saved means to heal, cure, preserve, keep safe and sound, rescue from danger or destruction, delivered, given a new life and a new heart.

For further study:
Luke 7:36-50

 

Freedom (c)

I’m not worthy to call Him Master.

I’m too ashamed of my sins.

But there is something about Him.

Maybe it is the way He speaks,

Or perhaps His awesome power.

I do not know.

I find myself longing to listen to Him more.

I yearn to have a better life.

Could it be?

Is He really coming here today?

I must bring Him the best I have.

Oh, if only I could kiss His feet.

Here He comes.

Should I?

He’s so different;

Loving, caring, compassionate.

I must….

I poured my best perfume,

I used my dirty hair.

I finally kissed the feet

Of the One that I loved so dearly.

What was that?

My sins forgiven?

It must be a mistake

But why then do I feel

As if the world has been lifted from my shoulders?

I feel like rejoicing, I am loved, and I am free!

 

Lent Series: Sermon on the Mount (Part 3)

After Jesus spoke about life and its worries, we all began to chat amongst ourselves about all that has been said so far.  There was much to take in and some of us wanted to know more.  We couldn’t get enough of what Jesus was teaching.  Others were not so sure.

Jesus told us to not judge others for we will be judged and treated with the standard we judge others.  Why worry about other people’s issues and sins when we have our own to deal with?  I was thinking about the ladies gossiping all the time.  They drive me crazy always talking about others and what they are doing.

Jesus went on to say we are not to waste what is lovely and precious on those who don’t want to listen or are unholy because all they do is turn it around and attack us. I guess I shouldn’t keep trying to push God on to the gentleman next door.  Mother and Father have always done this so I just joined in.  He never listens to us, he just insists on accusing us of being “holier than thou” people and is always rude to us.  So not only am I to love and forgive him, I should stop trying to push God’s laws upon him.  I should live it out in my own life and maybe, he will see what a loving God I serve.

Jesus says in our prayers we are to keep on asking, keep on seeking and keep on knocking on heaven’s doors.  If we are persistent with God, we will receive what we ask, we will find what we desire and the door of heaven will be opened.  God gives good gifts to those who ask.  I was reminded about Hannah who pleaded with God for a baby and promised if she had one she would give him back to God.  Sure enough, after many times crying before God, she fell pregnant and had a baby boy named Samuel.  Samuel grew up to be a great prophet and was the one who anointed David king.  Jerusalem is David’s city.  I can do the same as Hannah for any situation.  I can think of a few things I could pray for which I would love to see answers.

In the middle of everything Jesus was teaching, he taught the golden rule: We are to treat others the way we want to be treated.

He talked about the narrow gate.  The gate to life is very narrow and the path is difficult, only a few find it.  Yet the highway to hell is broad and the gate is wide.  Sadly so many people choose the broad way.  It is no wonder why so many go this way as there are false prophets disguised as sheep in wolves’ clothing.  We can identify them by their fruit in the ways they act.  A good tree is known for producing good fruit.  The bad trees get chopped down.  If we look and listen carefully we can tell the false prophets from the real ones by the actions and fruit that people display.

Jesus says that not everyone who calls him Lord will enter into Heaven. The only ones who will enter are those who actually do the will of God.  The ones that don’t will be told by Jesus “I never knew you.”

My heart just sank.  I so much want to follow Jesus.  I have seen so many wonderful things he has done and I have listened to him teach.  Yet, I still struggle with the things of this earth.  My heart wants to go through the narrow gate yet my mind says don’t be so crazy.

Jesus finished his teachings by telling us to build our lives on a solid foundation.  The wise man builds his house on a rock which doesn’t crumble in adversity when the winds blow and the hard rains fall.  The foolish man builds his house on sand which collapses under the pressure of adversity.  Everything Jesus said was taught with great authority more so than the rabbis.  I really enjoyed listening to him.

As you can see, I have a lot to think over.  Jesus explained very clearly how to live a holy life.  Simply put, God should be first in our lives and everyone else second and ourselves last.  I have followed Jesus this far, I am not going to turn my back on him.  Oh how I desire to be holy as he is holy.  How I long to be in his presence forever.  I know I have a lot to learn, things to give up, people to love and forgive, well basically I need a life change. Forget what my head is telling me, I am going to follow my heart for a change.  I choose this day to follow Jesus for the rest of my life.

I have decided to follow Jesus.  I have decided to follow Jesus.  I have decided to follow Jesus.  No turning back, no turning back.

leadsfollow

For further study:

Matthew 7; Luke 6:30-49

Lent Series:  Sermon on the Mount- Part Two

The day was getting a bit warmer in the sunshine with a slight breeze blowing.  I continued to listen to Jesus even though I had already a lot to think about.  Jesus continued to speak about how we are to live holy lives.

Jesus mentions about giving to the needy.  When we give to others we are not to make a show of it, letting everyone know what we are doing.  Instead, we are to give in private.  I have heard people in the synagogues telling each other loudly what they gave to the poor.  It was as if they were fighting amongst themselves who gave the most.  Jesus actually called these people hypocrites.  Wow, that’s harsh, but the more I think about it, it’s true.  Hypocrites are ones who read scripts and puts on an act; they use a mask to cover their true motives.  I have heard this word in plays where the adults put on masks to entertain the little ones.

Jesus says the same thing about praying and fasting.  He said we are not to be praying loudly for everyone to hear or babbling on like those who pray to other gods.  We don’t have to pray long, repetitive prayers.  When we fast we are not to let everyone know we are doing so.  We are to comb our hair and dress as normal so other people can’t tell.  That’s a relief, I must tell you.  I don’t want others to know my prayers and if I am fasting.  For me, I find this a private time between me and God.

Jesus teaches us to pray: “Our Father in Heaven hallowed be your name.  Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.  Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Did you hear those words?  We can call Yahweh God our Abba Father!  I am so excited!  I always thought God was distant, but Jesus says we can say Abba as if he were right here right now.  Once again I am amazed and in awe.  The rest of the prayer reminded me of the many different prayers we prayed throughout the day.  We give thanks in the morning when we rise, we give thanks for every meal, we even pray whilst washing our hands and before we go to sleep.  Extra prayers are prayed on special holidays and Sabbaths.

Jesus told us we are to forgive others as God forgives us.  If we don’t we will not be forgiven.  In our prayers, we pray to forgive others their sins as God does for us.  So not only am I to love the gentleman next door to mother, I am to forgive him or I won’t be forgiven.  I am not sure how I can do this.  I do hope I can begin to love him as well.  Maybe loving him and forgiving him might let him see we Jews are not bad people after all.

Jesus speaks about money and possessions.  He said we are not to hold things dear here on earth.  My father told me we don’t take the things to the grave with us, only our flesh goes to the grave.  The things on earth will stay when we leave to go to heaven.  None of it goes with us.  So we shouldn’t worry about having more things.

Jesus says our treasures should be in Heaven.  Whatever our treasures are, the desires of our hearts will be those things as well.  He explains we cannot serve two masters- money and God.  We will hate one and love the other.  Which one will come first in our lives?

Yes, money can buy things, we can have all the luxuries in the world.  However, looking at the crowd around me, I don’t think the majority of us have a lot of money.  Some were fishermen, others were tentmakers, carpenters, homemakers, linen makers, etc.  The Pharisees and other religious leaders were on the outskirts of this crowd and they were only a few in number compared to the rest of us.  I think most of us would be more worried and concerned where the money was going to come from to help us make ends meet.

It was as if Jesus knew my thoughts because he said we should not worry about treasures and money and everyday life.  Life is more important than food and the body is more important than clothing. He explained about the birds not being able to plant or harvest seed.  God allows plants to grow and he takes care of and provides for the birds.  We are far more valuable to God than birds, so why do we worry?  Can worrying actually add a single moment to our lives?

Jesus has a point here.  Why do we worry about money and things?  Even the poorest among us are able to survive even if it is on crumbs.

Jesus said if we seek the kingdom of God above all else and live righteously, he will give us everything we need.  We should stop worrying about tomorrow and what will happen.  Today has enough troubles of its own.

For further study:

Matthew 6

Lent Series: The Sermon on the Mount (Part One)

Jesus had been healing people and teaching for days now.  I had a hard time trying to listen to everything he was saying as I couldn’t get to him through all the crowds.  I did, however, see people being healed, which was amazing!

One day Jesus went up on a mountainside near Capernaum and sat down to teach. I was so thrilled to be able to be a lot closer this time so I could not just listen to him, but I could see him at the same time.  He taught for hours.  There is so much to share so I will begin with his blessings upon people.

Jesus blesses the poor who realise their need for Him.  He said the kingdom of heaven is theirs.  Blessings are given to those who mourn for they will be comforted, not just the bereaved but those who are sorry and repent from their wrongdoings.  He blesses those who are humble and said they will inherit the earth.  Humbleness is not weakness although many will tell us so.  It is instead, controlled strength and self-discipline.

Jesus went on to bless those who hunger and thirst for righteousness and justice for they will be satisfied with food in abundance.  Blessings are upon those who are merciful for they will be shown mercy, those whose hearts are pure for they shall see God and those who work for peace, they will be called the children of God.

Jesus then gave blessings to those who are persecuted for doing right for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.  He even said when people mock, persecute, lie about and say all sort of things about us who follow him, we are to be happy and very glad about it!  He said there will be a great reward for us in heaven.

We were told to be salt and light.  I know salt is used to preserve meats and fish, my mother taught me this.  If we didn’t use salt, the meat and fish would rot and be useless.  Jesus told us that if we don’t stay salty we would be like rotten meat and be thrown out.  We use candles in the house for lights.  Our lamps would be holders that held candles.  Jesus explained we don’t hide our lamps under a bowl as it blocks out the light.  We are to shine our good deeds to others so they can see we love God the Father.

Jesus spoke about laws, anger, adultery, divorce, making and keeping vows and revenge.  I was surprised to see that people stayed to listen to Him with all these subjects being covered.  I enjoy listening to Jesus, he has a voice that doesn’t condemn when he speaks.  I think this makes it easier to listen and if I feel this way, the others around me must do too.

Jesus taught us that we are to love our enemies.  I remember in my earlier years having to learn the laws of the Lord. These laws were read from the scrolls of Leviticus.  Jesus mentions one verse in particular from Leviticus:

“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbour as yourself.  I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:18).

Throughout the generations, this verse has been taught to us as to “hate our enemies but love our neighbours” instead of “loving your neighbour as yourself.”  This became a Pharisaic law.   Jesus, however, stressed upon us that we are to love our enemies and even pray for those who persecute us!  If we do, he said we will be acting like true children of God.  He explains this truth by saying God gives sunlight and rain on both the evil and good and the unjust and just people.  I thought about this for a bit- it is true, the rain doesn’t stop in someone’s patch because they are evil nor does the sun.

He said everyone can love those who love us back.  Even corrupt tax collectors do the same.  If we are only kind to our friends, how are we different than anyone else?   We are to be perfect as God is perfect.

I have to let all this sink in.  I love being blessed by Jesus.  I don’t mind being the salt and light.  But loving my enemies is a bit difficult I think.  There is one gentleman who lives close to my mother who is always shouting insults at her because she tries to follow God’s laws.  He hurls accusations when she walks to the synagogue and laughs at her.  Jesus wants me to love and pray for him after all he does to my mother?

I know I am to be holy as God is holy.  We were taught this as young children.  From what I have already heard today, I have a long way to go before I am holy as God is.  For now, I am going to rest and think about the things I have shared with you so far.  Until tomorrow…

Notes:

*Blessed are- God blesses- this is an adjective meaning happy, supremely blessed, congratulations are in order.  This is a grace word that expresses the special joys and satisfaction granted the person who experiences salvation.

*The poor are those who recognise their spiritual poverty and putting themselves aside, they seek God’s grace.

*To be perfect means to be holy, set apart, sacred, clean, pure, separated unto God – “Give the following instructions to the entire community of Israel.  You must be holy because I, the LORD your God am holy” (Leviticus 19:2).

*To love others is not just having sentiment towards someone- it is a practical concern, blessing them, praying for them and wishing shalom for our friends and enemies alike.

For further study:

Matthew 5

Lent Series: Sabbath Controversies

The Sabbath is our holy day of rest. God told us to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. We usually go to the synagogues to listen to the Rabbi’s teach. Otherwise, we do nothing else but rest. We don’t even cook! Food is prepared the day before so we don’t have to.
 
As I have been following Jesus everywhere, this Sabbath day, I was walking in a grain field, trying to hide from Him and the disciples but close enough so I could watch and listen to them talking. The disciples began to get hungry so they began to pluck the heads of grain and eat them. Granted we have been walking for what seemed like ages and I was even hungry, not having anything to eat for quite a while. I figured, if the disciples did it, so could I, so I started to eat the heads of grain as well.
 
Then some Pharisees saw us. They were irate. They charged up to us complaining about what the disciples were doing saying they were breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath. First of all the grain had already been harvested, all that was left on the heads were the leftovers which were left for the poor to glean according to Levitical law. I thought, what was the big deal? According to the Pharisees, it was a massive deal.
 
Jesus responds to the Pharisees reminding them what David did when Abiathar was high priest. David and his companions were hungry so they went into the house of God and broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread the priest were only allowed to eat (see 1 Samuel 21). Jesus explained that even priests had to work on the Sabbath and He wanted the Pharisees to show mercy not offer sacrifices (Hosea 6:6; Micah 6:6-8).
 
Jesus also said to the Pharisees “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of the people and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath”.
 
Jesus said it again, He is the Son of Man, He is Lord, even over the Sabbath. He is declaring He is equal with God! John the Baptist was right! I am unworthy to speak to Jesus or even follow Him. I have been waiting all my life to meet this Messiah, the Christ, the Lord and here He is speaking in front of me. There are no words to describe how I feel at this moment in time other than awe and amazement.
 
Jesus, the disciples, the Pharisees and I went into the synagogue on another Sabbath day. A man with a deformed hand was there. The Pharisees saw this as another opportunity to mock Jesus and His claims as the Lord of the Sabbath. They asked Jesus if the law permits a person to work on the Sabbath by healing.
 
I looked at Jesus wondering what His reaction would be. He looked sad like a father is with his child who doesn’t obey and pushes the limits. The father still loves his child but there is pain in his eyes when he sees his child go astray. Jesus had that same look in his eyes. Jesus responds to them by asking “If you had a sheep that fell into a well, wouldn’t you go rescue it? This man here is far more valuable than a sheep. The law permits a person to do good on the Sabbath.”
 
Jesus asked the man to come to the front of the synagogue. He then healed the man. The Pharisees were wild with rage.
 
I felt awful. These men who were supposed to be examples to the rest of us were getting angry with the Messiah. What was wrong with these people? Can they not see how wonderful this man Jesus was? Jesus just healed this man. What love! What compassion! What tenacity to go over the heads of the religious elite! I couldn’t understand their opposition.
 
Jesus started talking with the others that were there. As I waited my turn to hopefully talk to Jesus, I heard the Pharisees plotting to kill him because he stood up to them about the laws of the Sabbath. I thought it was ironic they were complaining about working on the Sabbath but yet they didn’t mind getting together arguing how to get rid of Jesus. I do hope Jesus knows what they are planning to do and stays away from them because I’d like to get to know Him better. It’s too soon for something bad to happen to Him.
 
Notes:
*The Sabbath was ultra-protected by the Pharisees who followed the law to a ridiculous degree.
*Jesus and His disciples were not breaking any Sabbath laws – just the Pharisee’s interpretation of them.
• God intended the Sabbath to be spiritually and physically restful for us, not an impossible burden trying to meet narrow man-made rules.
• Jesus declared He is the Son of Man, the Lord of the Sabbath was stating equality with God- the Sabbath is the Lord’s Day established the seventh day of creation when God rested after He saw all He had created was good.
 
For further study:
Matthew 12:1-14; Mark 2:23-3:6; Luke 6:1-11

Lent Series: Four Become Fishers of Men

Jesus made it to Galilee.  During the two days that Jesus stayed in Samaria, I stayed in a tent nearby and had a rest.  I then walked to Galilee knowing Jesus was heading that way.  Remember, I like to listen in to what is going on so I can follow Him wherever He goes.

Jesus was walking alongside the shore of the Sea of Galilee preaching.  I and many others in a crowd pressed in to listen to Him.  We wanted to take in everything He was saying.

Jesus saw two empty boats at the water’s edge which some fishermen had left to go wash and mend their nets. He stepped into one of the boats.  Simon Peter was the owner of the boat.  Jesus asked him to push it out onto the water.  The other fishermen came back from washing their nets and joined Simon and Jesus in their boat as well as out on the water.  Jesus continued teaching the crowds.

Jesus finished teaching us and we saw Him and the boats go out deeper into the water.  I was really curious what was going on but I had to wait until the boats came back.  This is what I heard happened out there in the deep sea…

Jesus told Simon Peter to let down his nets to catch some fish.  Unfortunately, in recent days the fishermen have not been able to catch many fish which really affected their livelihood.  They depend on having fish to sell in the market so they can take care of their own families.  Simon mentioned this to Jesus and said they worked all night without catching a thing.  Simon agreed to go ahead and let the nets down again as Jesus said.

Simon must have been listening to Jesus whilst he was mending his nets.  He also must have believed there was something special about Him in order to allow Him to get into his boat and even to go out into the deep part of the sea and let down the nets even though there were no fish the night before.

A miracle occurred! This time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear!  There was a shout for help from the partners in the other boat.  Soon both boats were so completely filled with fish that they were on the verge of sinking!

Simon Peter realised what happened.  He realised Jesus indeed is special.  He fell to his knees before Jesus and said to Him – “Oh, Lord, leave me- I’m too much of a sinner to be around you.”

Simon and the others were amazed at the number of fish in the boats.  Jesus replied to Simon- “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!”When they got back to the shore, Simon Peter, his brother Andrew, James and his brother John- the sons of Zebedee, left everything and followed Jesus.  They left their boats, nets, livelihoods and family behind and went with Jesus. Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John became really good friends with Jesus.

Jesus went off to pray and prayed to God all night.  He called together all the disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles.  A disciple is a student or follower of a teacher (a Jewish teacher is a Rabbi) or a doctrine.  An apostle is not just a disciple, they are messengers sent out to share the good news of Jesus. The twelve apostles who were specifically chosen by Jesus were Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon the Zealot, Judas (son of James) and Judas Iscariot.

I consider myself a disciple.  I follow Jesus everywhere and I look forward to hearing and watching what He will do next.  I want to know him more. I want to be like him, loving, compassionate, caring. But how can I? I can’t even get close enough to him to talk. If only he knew. If only he would listen. Oh, how I want to be free. Just maybe, my life will mean something as well and I can make a difference like Jesus’ apostles.

For further study:

Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11; 6:12-16

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