by Pastor Adekoya
MULTITUDES AWAITING THE GOSPEL PREACHED!
It’s good to know that there is a steaming crowd of people in our world today, yearning and panting to hear the message of the Gospel of Christ as it was with Jesus when physically here on Earth. This is not referring only to the lost souls but many in “churches” who are yet to hear the true gospel preached!
We may not need, and we will not always need aesthetic pulpit or stunning altar before we can preach the gospel. If Jesus could preach from the boat, we can as well preach from wherever we find ourselves! Remember, the work of an evangelist is given to all believers to embrace.
Simon with his fellow fishermen are found frustrated and about packing up, retiring after a long fruitless hours of labour with nothing to show. But here comes Jesus, the Master Himself! After making use of their “professional tool” (the boat), he brought about the miraculous which is impossible to be forgotten in a hurry. I said that to say this: whatever situation you find yourself; whatever situation you are in right now and you are almost losing hope, almost packing up, almost giving up… Believe it: you are about to see the manifestation of the power of God that’ll bring about a turnaround and a testimony that can never be forgotten. It shall be to the glory and praise of the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!
Two things very quickly:
- Like I’ve mentioned earlier, wherever man is (or can be) found, there lies an opportunity to preach the gospel! The people pressed upon Jesus to hear the word of God. “He stood by the lake of Gennesaret… enter into one of the ships” and preached to the people from the boat. Let’s always seize every opportunity presented to us by time and chances to tell someone about the finished work of Christ and the reality of eternity through faith in Christ Jesus.
- There is nothing too little or too ordinary to give towards the spread of the Gospel. Who would think that a boat could be an instrument necessary for the propagation of the gospel? Therefore it seems we always have with us something that can enhance the propagation of the Gospel of Christ. He could be just our mouths, our hands, our legs, or any other material thing that the Lord has blessed us with. But one thing is that we will always have something with us to promote the spread of the Gospel of Christ. And, just like the case of Peter, for everything we let go for the sake of the gospel there’s always a supernatural return that follows. Even though we let go of whatever we have out of love and passion for the Gospel willingly and cheerfully, God will always pay back in stupefying, mouth-watering and mind-blowing forms and manners. This obviously is the case with Simon, having toiled all night (the best time believed to be opportune for fishing) yet got nothing. However, when Jesus is in the equation the difference will always be clear!
How restful, productive, easy and fruitful will our lives, our careers, our business become when we let in Jesus into our boat. When we learn to take instructions from Him who is omniscient… Even though it was against the professional ethics of fishermen to fish in the daylight when shadows can scare away fishes, but as the word; at the command; at the instruction; at the direction of the Master, that which was deemed professionally unethical or impossible brought about the greatest harvest, the greatest results ever in the history of fishing. This kind of testimony can be replicated in our lives when will learn to move at His word. When will learn to operate at His world we will always experience the miracle, the glory, the power and beauty of His Kingdom within us!
THE MIRACLE OR THE MASTER?
Even though Peter earlier experienced the power of Jesus in the healing of his mother-in-law, he is now experiencing Him in a new and an astonishing dimension has propelled or catalyzed by his faith and obedience to the word of Jesus. Much more than the miracle, I regard it as something worth noting, the response or, the disposition, or the attitude of Peter after the miracle.
First, at this point, Peter yielded totally to Jesus recognizing himself as a sinner but glory!, here is a Savior who is not after the righteous but sinners. Verse 11 shows that they did not get carried away by the miracle but rather, they decided by themself to follow Jesus instead. They decided to follow the Master rather than to settle with the miracle.
It is amazing how that little act of God these days make some people feel like they have arrived so much that they do not pray again as they used to pray. They are found not as committed to the course of God’s Kingdom as they were used to just because of a little miracle. Here we learn that every miraculous act of God should draw us closer to Him and not the other way. Jesus should always be our focus, our interest, our desire, our priority, our number one, and not necessarily what we (can) get from Him. They were not overwhelmed by the multitude of the fishes they have caught but rather they forsook all and follow him.
To show that it was a deliberate decision they made, we read that they by themselves brought the ships to the land forsook all and followed him. With this testimony they are put at an opportune state to witness Christ and fish men for Jesus. In other words the acts of God in our lives are sickles with which we can draw many to Him. They have encountered the miraculous power of Jesus which is enough evidence and testimony to bring them to a point of conviction to preach about Jesus, as not just a miracle worker but the Messiah we have all long awaited.
Luke chapter 5 summarily presents us with situations and occasions that help us to see how much Jesus is willing to identify with us at our various levels and change our situations for the better, how much He’s willing to draw us near and close to Himself, how much He’s willing to forgive us, how compassionate and affectionate He is towards us to heal us and much more.
The encounter the leprous man had with Jesus shows us how willing Jesus is to cleanse us from our sins as leprosy was a type or a symbol of sin, spiritually speaking. Leprosy was a dreaded disease because of how contagious it is believed to be. You are to stay away from a leprous man at least two metres or six feets away because a leprous fellow is as good as dead while yet alive!
Jesus did not just allow this leprous man to come close, He touched him to show how affectionate He was and He is concerning us and that, no one that comes to Him would be rejected. This leprous man did not just experience the power of God but also the love of God. As it was with this leprous man, let’s understand that the love of God towards us is eternally unquestionable and unquestionably eternally and that His power is always available to see us through.
Again we see that though Jesus charged this cleansed leprous man to tell no one about what has happened to him, only to go to the priest and offer what was commanded according to the Law of Moses for a testimony. The man still went ahead to broadcast the doing of the Lord in his life. Like I said earlier, the acts of God in our lives are spiritual sickles in our hands with which to catch men for Jesus. The man that was charged to tell no man went to tell every man, now we are charged to go forth and tell the whole world we must not relax or relent or relinquish!
FAITH IS VISIBLE
Surely all men need Jesus: the poor, the rich, the bond, the free, the afflicted, the oppressed, the sick.
It seems that the easiest set of people to bring to Jesus are probably our friends. This is Jesus teaching and a man was brought to him, I will say, by his friends to Jesus for to be healed, having been taken with palsy. They did not just bring this man to Jesus but they trusted Jesus for the man’s healing. How often do we easily give up on people that we lead to Christ? To follow up on people, we must have a definite desire of the Lord for them. In other words, what we believe the Lord to do in their lives is what constantly propels or motivates us to follow them up till they are rooted in Christ.
This man was brought to Jesus and those who brought him were also persuaded that if this man could just get to Jesus’s feet he would be healed. Even though there was much crowd that there was no way for them to come in, their conviction and desperation led them to opening the roof and Jesus saw this as an act of faith. Amazingly, instead of Jesus just healing the man, He rather first declared his sins forgiven. This is Jesus manifesting His attribute as God for, as the Pharisees began to reason within themselves, only God can forgive sins. Jesus did this deliberately to pass the message concerning Who really He is – The Son of Man, as prophesied by Daniel.
NONE BUT ALL!
No one is so despised or abused or so disadvantaged that the Lord has no need of! Jesus came not for anyone in particular, but for all and Jesus is calling on all! The Jews naturally have some sort of resentment for tax collectors because of how corrupt they were and how extorting the practice was in those days. History has it that the right to collect tax is auctioned to the highest bidder with the right to tax the people as much as he will need to both generate the amount he has promised the government and have enough for himself. So, the people were overladen and overburdened with taxes those days making for the natural and societal hatred, so to speak, that the people of those days had for tax collectors. Yet this kind of a people so hated and resented socially Jesus was calling to be among his disciples!
At The Master’s call, he left all, rose up and followed him! This shows that this Levi (who is Matthew) counted it a privilege to be a disciple of Jesus over the fortunes and the societal influence his profession promises. There is nothing so precious, so valuable that should be hard to let go in order to follow Jesus or rather, to use in serving His interest here on Earth. Furthermore he was so elated that he threw a party and invited his friends to encounter Jesus. Again I will say, the closest and easiest set of people in our lives to bring to Jesus are our friends because, if we will not bring them to Jesus they can easily influence us otherwise.
Even though the events of Jesus’s identification with the Levi, and the celebration that ensued enraged the scribes and the Pharisees, it wouldn’t matter what the people’s reaction is about our encounter with Jesus but the fact that He called us and has accepted us in the beloved!
Seeing that He has not come for any but for yet anyone that will come to Him, believe Him and receive Him: however sinful, despised, miserable, beaten, battered, or disadvantaged the fellow may be. In fulfilling our mandate to the world, no one is to be despised.
A NEW WAY ENTIRELY!
The response of Jesus to the question of “why do disciples of John fast often and make prayers and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees but…Jesus’s disciples eat and drink?” shows that Jesus came to introduce and to establish an entirely new way of living and a new way of approaching God, yet not destroying the old! As He said ‘I have not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it.’ That means, anyone can live a life bound by the law or choose to live in the fulfillment of those laws, in Christ Jesus.
Fasting is commonly observed among the Jews when it’s time to sorrow, beside it being a religious ritual. Jesus using the analogy of the children of the bride chamber merrying while the bridegroom is with them is a situation that the Jews can easily relate to. During the wedding feast which is often a week-long, all religious rituals are set aside and there is full joy and celebration in the atmosphere.
That a new wine must be put in a new wine skin and that, no one having drunk old wine straightway desire the new means that it is not easy to break the old tradition in the hearts of those that are already bound by it but for those that follow Jesus a new way of living is introduced.
We are not bound by religious rituals but as the Spirit leads in joyous celebration of our eternal salvation in and through Christ Jesus. Only those who are free from the old can truly embrace the new, and Jesus came to set us free from the old that we might embrace the new, both Jews and Gentiles.
Therefore let’s continue our daily life, as we await his second coming, basking in the glory, the joy and restful assurance of our place with Him by the reason of our faith in his finished work. Also, let us take this new way of living to as many as we can through the preaching of the gospel. We are the new wine skins filled with new wine, a new way of living, through the Spirit!