Friday, July 2, 2010

The God of all Surprises

4When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch."

5Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets."
6When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
8When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus' knees and said, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!" (Luke 5:4-8)

A surprise is something unexpected, unanticipated, unforeseen. That is exactly what happened that day out there on Lake Gennesaret. Peter and his partners had been fishing all night and had caught nothing. Jesus tells Peter, to push the boat out further into the deeper water, and you and your partners let down your nets for a catch". Peter informs Jesus that they had been busting their guts all night but hadn't caught a thing, but he said, "If you say so, I will let down the nets".

Peter did not believe for one minute that he would have any more luck than he had before. After all, who was the experienced fishermen here? Peter did this sort of thing for a living, day in, day out, and he knew when the fishing was bad. Ask any fisherman. There are certain conditions that are just not good for fishing and you can try your hardest but you won't catch a thing. But out of respect for Jesus, he would do as he said.

What a surprise Peter got. It might have been the worst night for fishing, but what a catch. When they finally hauled this catch on board, it was so great that the boats began to sink. For a fisherman like Peter who knew all about fishing and the skills needed to bring in a good catch, this would have been mind blowing. All these fish when the fish were not biting.

Jesus surprised his disciples many times. He surprised the local church people by eating with sinners and tax collectors; Jesus surprised on lookers with his words "Your sins are forgiven"; He surprised his disciples with parables about the kingdom of God that emphasised that it is the small and the least, those who serve others, who are the greatest in the Kingdom of God; he surprised the women on Easter morning when they discovered that he had risen from the dead.

In fact when you think about it the God of the Scriptures is a God of surprises. Look how he chose a shepherd boy named David to be the king of Israel; remember God's surprising patience with the people of Israel who were always whinning and complaining even though they had been surprised by God's generosity and never-ending love so many times. Imagine how surprised the people of Israel were when Moses lifted up his arms and the water of the sea parted to allow them to escape from the pursuing Egyptians.

Perhaps the greatest surprise of all is that even though you and I keep on doing things that hurt God and make him sad, even though we keep on doing our own thing and selfishly look after ourselves before anyone else, surprise of all surprises, God keeps on loving us. In fact, he loves us to the degree that he sent his only Son to die for us. Now that is a surprise. When someone keeps on aggravating us we would hardly do something nice for them, let alone give our life for them. But there you have the surprising love of God at work.

Do you get the feeling that God is trying to tell us something here? Jesus is telling us through the story of the miraculous haul of fish and every other surprising event in the Scriptures, that followers of Jesus should always be ready for God's surprises. Just as Peter was surprised by what Jesus did, we are to be ready for the surprising things that the Lord will do in our lives. All we have to do is listen to what Jesus says to us,
believe his promises,obey his Word, even if we do it reluctantly like Peter, and then be ready for the surprises that God works in our lives.

At times our reasoning will tell us that what we are being asked to do, and the project that is being suggested, is doomed to failure. We can be like Peter and say, it will not work because I have been there and done that before. There is no rhyme or reason why this should succeed. However, it has been proven again and again, that God surprises us with what he can do in spite of what we think we can do.

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

No comments:

Post a Comment