A Scripture study from Caring, part one of five.
The Bible is filled with beautiful stories about God manifesting his presence among humanity through the revelation of who he is. The names of God describe God’s character. The theology of God’s names, as conveyed in the Bible, has enabled us to have a fuller understanding about how God wants to be made known both to us and to the world around us.
I want to invite you on a journey as we discover the names of Christ through the eyes and personal experiences of the disciples as conveyed through the Gospel stories. We will look at how Christ is known through hope, provision, lordship, example and forgiveness. As we embark on this journey, we will also allow the stories to reflect our own understanding of Christ in our personal lives. As Christ, the son of the living God, was made known to the disciples, may these stories also challenge us to consider who is Jesus in our personal lives, and may the Holy Spirit use the truths discovered in this study to form our hearts and renew our minds into a better understanding of Christ Jesus as we continue to make Christ known to the world.
Part 1: He is Lord
Behind the scenes
Read what Scripture says in Luke 5:1-11.
Beyond the surface
After using Peter’s fishing boat for a teaching platform, Christ challenges Peter to cast his net into the water one more time. Peter had worked hard all night and this request didn’t make sense. Tired, exhausted and confused, Peter reluctantly obeyed the voice of the one he called, “Master.”
Think about it
Why did Peter call him, “Master?”
Peter addressed Jesus using the Greek word “epistates” (Ἐπιστάτα). This word recognizes Jesus as one with authority as a master and overseer. Have you ever wondered if Peter fully understood who Jesus was at this moment? Peter’s life was about to be impacted and transformed through his encounter with the Creator. Peter was not ready to be called until he knew Jesus personally.
Transformation of the mind
When Peter pulled in the miraculous catch of fish, Peter fell to his knees in humility and cried, “away from me, Lord,” (Luke 5:8), using the Greek word “kurios” (κύριος), which means one with authority and power. While “Master” and “Lord” could be used interchangeably, perhaps they meant something different when spoken from Peter’s mouth. For some reason, within the moment of this experience, the word, “Master,” just could not sufficiently describe Peter’s understanding of the one before whom he knelt in humility. The one who was, “Master,” is now called his “Lord.”
This experience was not about the quantity of fish. It was about Peter’s realization that he was in the presence of the Almighty—God and Lord over creation. As a human, his only response was, “away from me Lord” (Luke 5:8), for God’s presence illuminates and exposes his personal unworthiness.
Transformation of the heart
However, God is pleased with such humility. Peter’s perspective of Jesus was transformed. Making Christ Lord would mean he is at the center of one’s whole purpose for living, and one’s entire life would be devoted in worship, obedience, discipleship and service.
Imagine what it would be like for us in that moment. When we realize we are in the presence of the Lord of the universe, and yet we know our unworthiness is exposed. How would we see ourselves in the light of his presence? God accepts and prepares such humble people for Kingdom service.
Imagine being present to hear Peter utter these words, “away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man” (Luke 5:8) and to see the reaction on the face of Peter when Christ says, “don’t be afraid” (Luke 5:10). Imagine the comfort these words bring to those of us who stand before God with feelings of inadequacy, unworthiness, weaknesses and sin.
The beauty is that Christ knows all about us, and he still calls, transforms and sends us. Having sat underneath the flowing fountain of mercy and having received the riches of Christ’s grace, Peter is ready and he can truly make Christ known to others.
When we encounter the living God, we come face-to-face with our weaknesses, and yet we find renewed mercy, forgiveness and confidence.
Peter’s perspective of Christ and of himself was transformed as he moved from shame to acceptance. Perhaps Peter remembered this nugget of truth found in the writings he studied from childhood.
“If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared” (Ps. 130: 3).
As we stand in the presence of our Lord, may we also find renewed confidence and acceptance, and may we receive a transformed vision for our lives.
Secondly, the miraculous catch of fish was used to get Peter’s attention as if it prompted Peter to say, “OK, Lord, I’m listening. Now what?” Jesus didn’t come to bless Peter’s fishing business, but rather he came to call him to discipleship. Jesus didn’t merely come to miraculously make fish appear but rather he came to show Peter that he is the God of the miraculous.
As it was for Peter, may our renewed vision and mission be to know Christ as Lord, so that we can make Christ known.
Between the lines
As disciples, our journey begins with our own personal encounter with Christ. In his presence, we see ourselves as unworthy, but this is a prerequisite for kingdom work. Christ begins where we are today. He lavishes us with grace, and he transforms our vision for tomorrow.
- Our calling is first a transformational calling. Why is it important for us to also receive our own personal encounter with Christ before we fulfill the vision God has for us?
- Are there any patterns of thinking, both in how you see yourself and how you view God, that need to be transformed as you make Christ known?
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