A Fish Story

A Fish Story
Radio Message / Tract #4

man and boat hooking onto a big fish -- what a ride!
How often have you gone fishing and gotten “skunked”; not even a nibble? No action at all is just no fun, especially if your family loves to eat fish. Here’s a true fish story with a very happy ending!the big fish!

It was morning by the sea. Two boats were near the shore. One belonged to Simon Peter and Andrew his brother. The other belonged to James and John. They were partners in a fishing business. They had been out fishing all night long and had caught absolutely nothing. Now four discouraged fishermen were washing the seaweed out of their empty nets.

“And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him [Jesus] to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret [Galilee], And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.” (Luke 5:1-5)

Jesus borrowed Simon Peter’s boat, and used it as a platform to teach the crowd from. After he was done he said, “Now Peter, let’s go out and catch some fish”. Simon Peter explained, “There's no fish out there. We've been fishing all night and haven't caught one. But if you say so, we'll throw out the nets.”

Verse 6. “And when they had done this, they inclosed a great multitude of fish: and their net broke. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”

clipart of fish headed for hookThey rowed out into the deep water, and let down their nets right over an enormous school of fish. They filled both boats so full of fish that they were ready to sink. In astonishment, Peter fell down in the boat at the feet of Jesus, and cried out these strange words. “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, oh Lord.”

What did Peter mean by that? Was he telling Jesus to get out of the boat? No. He was saying, “We labored all night long and caught nothing. But one word from you and we've caught more fish than our boats can hold. How can you be so kind and good? I don't deserve all this. I'm a sinful man. You shouldn't even want to be near me, Lord.”

Peter was overwhelmed by all that Jesus had just done for him and his fishing partners. Yet at the same time he was also overwhelmed by a sense of his own unworthiness of it all. Somehow seeing the goodness of Jesus lavished upon him made Peter painfully aware of his own badness. Simon Peter was suddenly seeing himself as he'd never seen himself before. He was seeing himself in the light of the goodness of God. Yet in that beautiful light he saw his own sinful shadow- and it was devastating. One of Peter’s eyes was filled with the brightness of Christ's kindness and love. The other eye was filled with dark memories of his own selfishness and deceit. It was more than his mind could take. His own conscience wrung this confession out of him. “Depart from me for I am a sinful man, oh Lord!”

This is a perfect picture of “repentance”; shame, and turning from sin. What is it that led Simon Peter to this point of repentance? The same thing that leads each one of us to that point. Romans chapter 2, verse 4 says, “The goodness of God leads you to repentance.”

God had been good to Simon Peter, whether he deserved it or not. Now Simon Peter finally realized it. Friend, has God been good to you? Think about it. Were there times in your life when, but for the mercy of God, you could have been dead? Think about the things he's brought you through. And you're still alive to tell about it. We all have our own stories. And we've all heard the stories of others. Accidents, illnesses, fires, or floods? Do you remember a time when, just a little bit nearer and you would have been gone? Just a few more minutes, and you would have been dead? There may have been others who died around you, yet you were spared. Friend, God has been good to you, and to me. We hear daily of so many tragedies. Yet by the grace of God we're still alive.

Isn’t it strange that most people seem to focus their minds either on what they've lost in life, or on what they've never had? Then they waste the rest of their lives complaining about it. Complaining only blinds our eyes to the goodness of God. The truly great people are those who have suffered terrible losses, yet they look at what they still have left and thank God every day for it. Friend, have you taken time to count all the many ways that God has been good to you? And, more importantly, has that goodness of God led you to repentance? I hope you remember what Jesus said in Luke 13:3. “Except you repent you shall all likewise perish.” Have you heard God's Commandment to every person on Earth? The Bible says, “God now commands all men [and women] everywhere to repent.”. Acts 17:30. He not only solemnly commands us to repent, but he also gently leads us to repent, by his goodness and kindness to each one of us.

Friend, God has been good to you. No matter how much you may have suffered, God has demonstrated the depth of his love to you. How? He sent his only Son, perfect and sinless in every way. He sent him to earth to hang till he died, nailed to a wooden cross. The reason he died; the only reason he died, was to pay for your sins. You know you had them. And to pay for mine too. Jesus died to save us from the everlasting fires of hell that our sins had earned us. He died to provide us a Heavenly home of everlasting joy, if we'll follow him there. The Bible says, “Christ died for our sins.” 1 Corinthians 15:3. That's the only reason he died. He didn’t have to do it. But he did. God has been very good to you. He's been very good to me. But has his goodness led you to repentance? How can you know?

Luke 5, verse 11 continues, “And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.” When they got back to shore with all those fish, Peter, Andrew, James and John did two things in response to the goodness of Jesus. Number one; “they forsook all”. Jesus had a far greater purpose for these men than fishing. And number two; they “followed him”, followed Jesus. That’s repentance! Have you responded to God's goodness, by doing those two things? Have you forsaken all that you know God does not want you involved in? Have you dropped those activities that you know are wrong? Those attitudes that you know are unfair and unloving? That speech that is foul, ungodly, insincere, or abusive? Have you forsaken all that's sinful? And have you finally decided to follow Jesus; to live as he taught us to live? God has been good to you, friend. And you know it. If his goodness has not yet led you to repentance, bow your head and make this your prayer.

“Lord, I know you have been good to me. And I've overlooked it. I know you sent Jesus to die for me. And I've ignored it. Lord, I am a sinful man. Forgive me. Wash me from all my wrongs. I'm ready to forsake my sinful ways, and to follow you. Thank you for hearing me. And thank you for leading me to repentance. In Jesus' name. Amen.”

If you've meant that prayer with all your heart, you are now a child of God, a follower of Jesus Christ. Pray everyday. Read your Bible everyday. Find a Bible believing church and attend there regularly.    BT

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