Jesus surprises us when he enters everyday life. For example, when he tells Peter to lower the fishing nets into the water, Peter protests that he and the others fished all night without success, but eventually Peter complies. Lo and behold, they catch so many fish that the nets begin to break, and when they haul them aboard, the boats begin to sink. Stunned and humbled, Peter falls at Jesus’ feet, according to Luke 5:8, saying, “Stay away from me, Lord, for I’m a sinful man!”
Jesus’ response? “Don’t be afraid, from now on you’ll be catching men.” (Luke 5:10) The phrase, “catching men”, catches me off guard (although I know the story) and sticks in my mind as I try to make the transition from boats full of flopping fish to people coming to faith. Who else but Jesus in all of history so inspires and empowers us?
Under persecution for his faith, Paul says in Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” He’s not a once-a-week believer, or even a 50% believer. He’s totally committed, no matter what people say or do to him.
To Paul, living for Christ in a hostile climate means nothing less than sharing the news about Jesus with everyone who will listen—because only Jesus has what they need. In Philippians 2:3-4 he writes, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” For this is what Jesus does when he lays down his life.
From June readings for Days 15, 16, and 17
II Kings 4-5, 6-7, and 8-9
Psalms 119:113-120, 119:121-128, and 119:129-136
Luke 5:1-11, 5:12-16, and 5:17-26
Philippians 1:12-20, 1:21-30, and 2:1-11