Read His Words Before Ours!
Golden-rosy light glows in the east, dispelling the darkness. The breaking dawn mirrors the dawn of truth upon my soul. Truth casts its glow into the dark soul, ever brightening, ever rising, finally flooding the soul with radiant light. Like the rising sun, the truth of Jesus’ incarnation and His sojourn on earth has become increasingly clear. The light has broken upon my darkened understanding.
It all began on an early morning like this one. The crew and I had just finished a frustrating, fruitless night on the water. Usually we caught something, but that night there was nothing; it was odd.
A rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth, whom Andrew knew, often came to the lake in the early mornings, teaching from the boats. Many viewed him as the Messiah. He told parables; His teaching was interesting and relatable. He taught as One having first-hand knowledge of ancient truth. His wisdom was primordial, yet fresh and alive. He was not just another rabbi, but Who He was remained a mystery to me. Andrew hung upon His words, convinced He was “the prophet” of which Moses prophesied.
That morning, He taught from our boats longer than usual. Water slapped against the side of the gently rocking boat and I dozed, half-listening. He roused me and matter-of-factly instructed, “Go out into the deep water; let down the nets for a catch.”
This Nazarene was serious. Andrew was already in his boat, shoving off; I followed. Andrew flung out his net; it slapped onto the water and slowly sank. Nothing, silence . . . then in an instantaneous rush, there were schools of fish!
Andrew gasped, then whooped as he began drawing in the net. Immediately his boat listed violently, nearly keeling over. We rowed fiercely, reaching them in time to fling out our net to reinforce theirs. Immediately, ours were full, nearly breaking under the weight. We were in danger of losing all the fish, both boats, and our lives as well.
We dug in with the oars, straining in unison for the shallows. I bailed into the lake and with rhythmic heave-hos, the crew and I made for the shore, dragging the straining nets. Exhausted, I collapsed onto the beach. My chest heaved as I lay on the sand and simply breathed.
He came to me. I stared up at the Creator against His blue dome of sky. He extended His hand and helped me stand. We all gaped in silence– at the haul of fish, at one another, but mostly at Him. He smiled and simply said, “From now on, you will be fishers of men!” The light of truth was breaking upon me.
As I watched and listened, evidence began to mount. He just might be “the prophet” as Andrew insisted. He certainly held power over the movement of fish in the lake; no ordinary man does that! Every day He healed someone, often anyone who asked. Isaiah prophesied when “the prophet” came, healing those born blind would be one of His miracles. With my own eyes, I witnessed Jesus restore sight to people blind from birth. Elijah healed on a few occasions, but Jesus healed all the time.
The evidence continued increasing, but we understood Messiah’s coming as restoring Israel’s political and national glory. While Jesus spoke often of “the kingdom of Heaven,” He showed no interest in initiating an insurrection. On the other hand, His fulfillment of prophecies couldn’t be coincidental, or denied.
With evil spirits came immediate recognition, “Son of the Most High God,” they called Him. It wasn’t their first encounter with Him; they groveled in His presence. He held their fate in His hands, it seemed. Only Elohim could do this.
Then, in a brilliant, unforgettable moment of divine splendor, He showed James, John and I His glory on the sacred mountain. He stood as Friend with friend beside Moses and Elijah, emanating an ethereal, other-worldly light.
Then there was Lazarus’ return from death, and the people shouting “Hosanna” as He entered Jerusalem, riding a donkey’s colt. Within hours, the tide turned. His arrest, the flogging, and the cross. It was brutally sudden, unnerving, and terrifying, yet all of it followed straight from Isaiah’s prophecies.
Then Resurrection Day; He was back! It was stunning, yet confusing. Now He’s ascended to His former glory. He’s gone, and He left me in charge! This is both terrifying and humbling.
Every crowing rooster reminds of my failure. However, it was another early morning like this one, days ago, when His grace breathed life into my deflated soul. As long as I live, in the soft gray stillness of each breaking dawn, I will remember the fire of coals and the breakfast of fish. His questions were like well-aimed arrows piercing my soul. The same knowing gaze rested upon me, as it had in the courtyard the night of His trial. There was eternal knowing, yet eternal kindness in His eyes.
“Shepherd my sheep,” He said softly, His eyes of grace locked with my own shame-filled eyes. He placed before me the enormous calling of shepherding this fledgling flock.
The brothers and I remain in steadfast prayer since He returned to Glory. It seems job one is to appoint Judas’ replacement, as Scripture says. We shall proceed in prayerful obedience, as we await His affirmation upon the chosen man.
In the courtyard below, the rooster fluffs his bronze-green feathers in the first rays of dawn and readies himself for a morning crow. Though he attempts to remind me of my failure, I choose to remind myself of my Lord’s grace and His holy calling.
“His grace covers me! Crow away, rooster, crow away!”
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!