Throughout the New Testament, Jesus used many ways to teach about the kingdom of God. Sometime He told stories. Then he pulled out spiritual truth from those stories to teach people. At other times, he taught directly from the Old Testament. From time to time, He used object lessons to teach about the kingdom. For instance, he used a mustard seed to teach about faith. He used salt and light to teach how believers should live their lives. And many times, he taught by asking questions. Jesus asked more than 130 questions in the Bible.
Why would just asking questions change our lives? Because human nature normally will respond to situations and circumstances by using only feelings and emotions. In other words, we have a tendency to react to situations instead of acting. Questions make us think and when we think, we are less likely to react. When we think, we will allow logic, reason, knowledge and understanding to be part of our decision making, to be part of our judgement. When we think and ponder about situations, we allow the Holy Spirit to speak, to guide and lead us. We allow ourselves to see things through (faith in) the word of God.
In Luke 5 is a story of Peter moving from failure (an empty boat and empty life) to success (a boat load of fish on that day, a daily success). And then Peter moved from a daily success to a life time success when he knew that the ultimate goal of his life was to follow Jesus and serve Him. Peter’s life is similar to all of ours. He experienced failure and emptiness. And because of his right response, God moved him from failure to a life time success.
There are 3 questions we should ask ourselves when we have a bad day or face a difficulty in life. These 3 questions are real life questions. Questions that can shape and change our lives. ( Your readers were not present last Sunday—so cross this out--The first question we already listened from last Sunday but let me remind you one more time.
First question: How do you respond to failure and disappointment in life?
Peter did 2 things when he caught nothing from fishing. First of all, Peter washed the nets: This speaks of preparation. After a failure, after disappointment, after getting nothing from fishing, Peter did not go home but stayed there at the shore to clean the nets. He prepared himself for a next catch. When we fail, when we have a bad day, when a crisis hits us, prepare for a next day. Prepare for a next opportunity. Do not quit preparing.
The second thing Peter did was he gave. He gave the boat to Jesus. When Jesus asked to use Peter’s boat, he said yes. He gave time and what he had to Jesus to use for his ministry. Every time when your life is empty, you are discouraged, when your dream and your plan seem to bebroken, when you feel like you are not ready to give and to help others, you’ve got to believe that is the very moment Jesus wants to get into your boat, into your life, into your situation. According to Luke 5, failure is the first ingredient that has the potential to lead to success. But success willcome when you allow Jesus to get into the boat. Peter gave what Jesus asked for.
Second question: How do you respond to the voice of God?
"4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, 'Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.'"
Jesus asked Peter to go to deep water and let down the nets just one time and Peter obeyed. In fact, he obeyed Jesus 2 times in succession. The first time was when he let Jesus usehis boat. The second time was going out to the deep water and fishing just one more time. From Peter’s perspective, it did not make sense to fish in the morning since he had already fished allnight with no success. And no one would fish in the morning too. It did not make sense to go out to deep water and fish one more time.
But Peter obeyed anyway and a miracle did happen. Faith does not make sense; that’s why it makes miracles.Obedience to God does not make sense but it will make miracles. Obedience has nothing to do with reason but everything to do with trust. Are you ready to trust God regardless of your own understanding and circumstances?
Third question: How do you respond to success and blessing?
"6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break."
Eventually, Peter got a lot of fish. The empty boat was full again with fish. The empty heart was filled again with hope. Fishing in deep water in the morning was fishing in the wrong place, and at the wrong time but it was being there with the right person, Jesus Christ, being there with the right spirit which is obedience, and so a miracle happened. Blessing came and a person who had been a failure became a successful person by the grace of God. How did Peter respond to success and blessing? 2 things Peter did after he got an abundantblessing.
First of all, Peter changed his focus from the physical to thespiritual. He came back to himself and focused more on his spiritual life. Initially, he went to deep water with Jesus for fish, for material success. But once he got a lot of fish, he did not even look at those fish but at himself. "v. 8 When Simon Peter saw this; he fell at Jesus' knees and said, 'Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!'" Peter said "Go away from me Lord," what does that mean here? Basically, Peter was saying “You just got the wrong guy. I don’t deserve to be blessed, or if you have any plans for my life, just forget it. I am a sinful man.” Then Jesus told him, “Do not be afraid”, “Do not worry”, I will help you to be better. I will help you to grow up.” Peter admitted that he was poor in spirit.
The second thing Peter did was he responded to the calling of God.
"10 Then Jesus said to Simon, "Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men." 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him."
Peter left everything and followed Jesus. God brings blessing and success to us because he wants us to focus on the calling. This is the principle from the bible. He blesses us in order for us to serve Him. Whether we are facing a failure or having a success, what God wants from us is for us to walk with him faithfully and serve Him.
Whether in success or failure, can you still lift up your hand and worship him in spirit and in truth? Whether in success or failure, would you put Him first in your life? Whatever situation you would face in life, do not forget to ask these 3 questions. They will make all the difference.
May the Lord bless you