On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon's, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. — Lk 5:1-3
I hate crowds. I am not into concerts, and I particularly don't like places that are standing room only. In college, I opted out of most concert experiences (which, in retrospect, was missing out on some amazing Nashville music) because I didn't want anyone shoving or pushing me or having to strain to see over people. That's how I imagine the scene aside the lake of Gennesaret. Jesus is becoming more and more well-known. The crowds are "pressing in on him" in order to hear him teach, and I imagine them just pushing and leaning in on each other trying to hear Jesus. He uses Simon's boat so that his voice can be amplified on the water for everyone to hear him better.
Have you ever cared so much to hear the word of God preached that you would do whatever it took? Have you ever been so interested in knowing God more that you would put yourself in an uncomfortable situation? Our churches accommodate our physical needs. If the pew is uncomfortable, we'll probably complain. If a church asked us to stand outside for the service-- we'd probably find somewhere else to go. But these people were willing to do whatever it took to hear God's word preached by Jesus (a truly amazing experience, to be sure).
Simon Peter and the other disciples so badly wanted to learn from Jesus and hear him teach God's word and to know Him better, they left everything to follow. For most of my life, I haven't even been able to focus on reading the Bible for more than 10 minutes. I have sat in sermons and daydreamed about lunch and my to-do list and completely zoned out. I get distracted in my prayers. These people were desperate to hear God's word taught. I want a heart like that.
Sometimes it is easy to think Scripture as old, outdated, or irrelevant-- but it's anything but that.If we aren't falling over each other to read God's word and hear His voice and know him through it, then it's not God that's doing something wrong, but us. The seminary class I am taking on the Gospels this year has made me more interested in learning and studying Scripture than I have been in ma
ny years. I am desperate to know more and hear God's voice through the Word, because it helps me to know God better. And I want this for you too. I want us to be like Simon Peter and Andrew and James and John, who follow Jesus wherever He leads, because they want to learn from Him. They give up their boats and sacrifice their livelihoods for the sake of the Gospel.
I'm scared to even say that's what I want, but it is what I want for my life-- to lose my life in order to find it in Jesus and his Word. Maybe you think I'm crazy to say that. I think I'm crazy to say it! But I'm grateful that we get to journey alongside Peter's perspective and get just a glimmer of what he must have felt as he came to know the real, true Messiah by walking beside him and following His words.
"We must seek, in studying God, to be led to God...How can we turn our knowledge ABOUT God into knowledge OF God? The rule for doing this is simple but demanding. It is that we turn each truth that we learn ABOUT God into a matter for meditation BEFORE God, leading to prayer and praise TO God." Dr. J.I. Packer, Knowing God
Dear God, I want a heart that presses in on You to hear your Word, that can't get enough of learning more about you and knowing you through it. I pray that this time that we tag along with Peter can provide us with the opportunity to know not just ABOUT you, but to know OF You, that we may know You better in the end. Let us seek earnestly to know until we find our rest in you. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Dig Deeper: Do you want to know God better? Do you have a heart for hearing and knowing God's Word? Are you willing to pray that he give you one?