What would it be like if you encountered Jesus? If you could hear Him with your own ears explain, proclaim, and apply the word of God? What would it be like to encounter Jesus in one of His mighty miracles? What would it be like to be right in the middle of one of those like the disciples were that day? How would you respond? What would it be like to encounter Jesus in one of His amazing calls, where He gives this direct call to action to the people that are hearing Him?

The passage we are looking at today is one of His great calls: "Don't be afraid... Come. Follow Me." How would you respond if you were there to hear one of Jesus' calls?

In three different scenes in this one connected story we will see Jesus' teaching and the response of the multitudes; Jesus' miracle and the response of the disciples; Jesus' call and the response of His disciples. So the passage is perfectly crafted to show us what an encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ looks like and how it plays out, and that of course fits in with one of the great themes of the Gospel of Luke.

Luke is concerned to put Jesus before your eyes so that you understand who He is, what He is here for, and how you ought to respond to Him.

I. The Multitude's Response to Jesus's Teaching

First, Jesus is teaching on the shore. There are so many people there that they are having a hard time hearing Him. They are getting closer and closer. And so He decides that He is going to get in a boat, go out just a little ways and use the water as His amplification system. If He can get a little distance from them and speak up, more of them will be able to hear Him plainly teach the word of God. But why are they pressing in on Him? Jesus is teaching the word of God, and the crowd is responding by pressing in on Him to hear the word of God because they sense the importance of hearing the word of God. They want to hear the word of God.

And, my friend, it ought to be an agenda of ours when we gather in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to hear His voice in the preaching of the word of God. We should accept no substitute. It is not the wisdom of men that we need. It is not interesting stories and entertainment that we need. It is the word of God that we need.

II. Peter's Response to Jesus's Miracle

Second, look at verses 4-10. Here, Jesus displays his power and we see something of Peter and the disciples' response to the miracle. After Jesus has finished preaching, He says, "Peter, let your boat go a little bit deeper in the lake. Let's go out a little ways and let your nets down." Night time was the time that fishermen thought was the best time to fish. They had fished all night and hadn't gotten any fish. Now a carpenter is telling them to go out deeper and let their nets down. And he says, "Okay, Jesus, if you say so I'll do it."

Well, Peter does it. They let down the nets and you know the rest of the story. Not only did they fill up one boat, they fill up two boats. Their nets begin to break and the boats begin to sink. And it blows Peter away. Peter knew what the haul was that they had brought in, and he immediately knew that he was in the presence of someone far greater than a prophet or a man. He was in the presence of the Son of the living God, and suddenly he finds himself prostrate in the boat before Jesus, at His knees, at His feet, saying, "Lord, depart from me. I'm a sinful man."

There is nothing in this passage about Jesus' holiness or about sin, but immediately in the wake of this miracle Peter is overwhelmed by two things: the greatness of Jesus and the greatness of his own sin. He is brought face to face with the inestimable, the incalculable greatness of Jesus and he is brought face to face with the greatness of his own sin.

Peter was right to tremble. When you really encounter the living God, you know that He is not the God that you have fashioned in your mind. He is something altogether on a different order of magnitude, and especially the holiness of His being becomes transparently clear to you.

Is that the Jesus you have encountered? Is the Jesus you know and love big and great and holy? Or have you scaled Him down and you up? It is precisely because of His greatness and His love and His holiness that He is capable of changing your life, and that is exactly what happens in response to this miracle.



III. The Disciples' Response to Jesus's Call

Do you know what happens next? Look at verses 10-11 again. Jesus says, "Peter, don't be afraid." It is the gospel that makes the presence with God a joy and a comfort and a delight rather than an occasion for terror.

You know what hell is? Hell is eternity in the presence of God. You know what heaven is? Heaven is eternity in the presence of God with a Mediator who has given Himself in your place so that you are not the vessels of wrath any longer, you are the objects of mercy. So when Jesus says "Do not be afraid" to Peter, He is preaching the gospel to Peter. "Here is the reason you do not need to be afraid, Peter. Not because I am someone who ought not to be feared, but because you need not fear Me, for I have set my love on you and I am going to die for you."

And then He says, "And by the way, Peter, leave your boat, leave your nets. You are coming with Me and we are going to fish for something else." And the response is really astonishing, isn't it? Luke puts it so simply:

"When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him."

Now, my friends, I don't know a message more timely for us today than that message, because, you see, Jesus' call for us to leave everything and follow Him is not His call just to a unique group of super apostles at the beginning of Christianity. The call to leave everything and follow Him is the call of Jesus to every disciple. It is a call to recognize that everything else does not equal to Jesus, and that Jesus is greater than everything else; and, therefore, He is worth leaving everything else behind to follow Him.

"Let goods and kindred go;

This mortal life also.

The body they may kill...."

They can take all of that from me but they can't take Jesus. And therefore we are going to leave everything and we are going to follow Him.