For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
The Lord has made known his victory;
he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the victory of our God.
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
with the lyre and the sound of melody.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord.
Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.
God’s greatest desire for all people is that we come to know him. The history of God and his people, the history of salvation, is one of God coming in to the lives of his people, presenting himself before them, and then our reaction to the gift of himself. Our whole life, and our whole salvation is dependent entirely on how we respond to God and his invitation to relationship. So what is your response?
In his letter to the Colossians, St. Paul is encouraging the newly converted in their relationship with God. He understands that responding to God in the affirmative is only the beginning. Though we may say ‘yes’ to God right away, we still have a long life ahead of us of continual ‘yes’s. We have trials, temptations, tests, and greater revelations of God that are going to mature us into the disciples God calls us to be. Will we say yes all along the way?
Our psalmist proclaims how God reveals his salvation to his people. Whether through mighty acts or through his patient steadfastness in spite of our sinfulness, he proclaims the great love of God through forgiveness. The psalmist then proclaims what our response should be. We ought to sing out to God with joy! Joy and praise is the only right response to such generosity from our God. We did not earn it, we do not deserve it, but we can never do anything to make God stop loving us. When we trust in this love, we have assurance of salvation. And what greater cause of joy can we have, than to know that we will have an eternity with God, living forever in his love, far removed from our burdens, guilt, and pain?
Simon Peter has an interesting response to Jesus revealing himself as God. At first, Simon accepts the Lord’s word on faith, serving him in his boat, doing everything he says, obeying him in spite of his own personal doubts. He is continuing in the ‘yes’s along the way that make up the Christian walk. Then they receive the catch of fish. Then God reveals his might, overwhelming our senses, and outdoing our imaginations. Simon is amazed, and he recognizes this act of God. He has already been calling Jesus ‘Lord.’ He has already taken it on faith that he is the Lord, and he has already acted in obedience to this faith. Now, in the face of greater revelation of God’s care, provision, and love, he responds in a surprising manner. Rather than singing out in joy, as prescribed by the psalmist, he falls down before Jesus, acknowledging his unworthiness to receive God’s goodness. How easy it is to relate to Simon in this moment! How many times have we all fallen short in our sinfulness, acknowledging that we are not deserving of all the good gifts God has provided us?
And how does God respond to him? Jesus does not upbraid Simon. He does not leave him, as Simon asked him to do. He does not take back the catch of fish. He does not even mention Simon’s sinfulness. He speaks to the heart of the matter, and tells Simon to reject the fear. Reject the fear of not being worthy. Reject the fear that the race will be too long and too hard. Reject the fear that God will ask too much of you. Reject the fear that you will not be able to pull in the catch he is asking you to bring in. Reject the fear that you will not be a good enough disciple. Today, God is calling you to follow him more closely. He is asking you to put aside the nagging fears and self-accusations that get in the way. God does not ask us to be perfect. He is the perfect one. He does not ask us for results. He asks us for obedience. He is the one that brings about the results. He is asking for our ‘yes,’ for our faithful response to his call, and he is asking for us to put aside the fear of all the incidentals along the way, to put aside the fears that prevent us from fully receiving him and singing for joy. Simon Peter heard God's call, and left everything to follow Jesus. How will you respond to God today?