There are three facts that group about the message of Jesus in this story. And those same three facts need to group themselves in bold outline about our using of it, too. The first is this: there was contact with Jesus as a Master
. That must come in, and come in strong, before there can be any right using of this word of command.
There needs to be the first contact when a man turns over the control of his life to Jesus as Master. There needs to be close contact that the Master's plan of service may be clearly seen and faithfully started upon. There must be continual contact that so His mastery may control and guide at every step.
The second fact is this: obedience to the Master's word. Obedience, mind you, whether the thing you are told to do seems a likely thing to do or not. Here with the fishermen there were some things that pulled the other way. They had been out all night and failed. The very sense of failure strong within them was against obedience. Discouraged men seldom succeed at anything. And there was a very unlikely chance ahead. The time for fishing with them was in the night. Failure behind, and a poor chance ahead! Yet they obeyed.
If Peter had acted the way some modern folks do he would have said something like this: |You'll excuse me, Master, for saying it; but -- this is no time to fish in these waters. Pardon me, sir, I have no doubt you know about carpentering. But I'm a fisherman. When it comes to yokes and plows I'll gladly yield to you. But fishing -- you see, I've been fishing ever since I was a boy. Maybe up around Nazareth, in the brooks and ponds up there, you can catch something in daylight, but not down here.|
I have heard many people talking that way. But Peter didn't. Aren't you glad he didn't? He stumbled often. He talked foolishly to Jesus more than once, but not this time. He obeyed. It was against his habit, against his ideas of what was best, but the message was clear and he obeyed it. Happy is the man who listens to the inner Voice, learns keenly how to hear distinctly and accurately, and obeys. Faith is never contrary to reason, but it is frequently higher up. The spirit realm is the highest.
A man should reach up through his bodily life, through a keen, strong intellectual perception and grasp, up into the spirit realm and abide there. Many a man of splendid ability and earnestness never shakes off his intellectual scaffolding in the upward building. It remains to hamper and mar. Through a mastered body, and a disciplined mind, up to the spirit level is the full swing. Obedience to the clearly discerned voice of command from the Master is the one pathway of full power.
The third fact was sure to follow these two. It came last. There were unexpectedly large results. There always will be where the first two facts are faithfully gotten in.