Encounter with the Holy
Friday, November 20, 2009

 

“When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, ‘Oh Lord, please leave me – for I am a sinful man.”  (Lk. 5:8) 

                It was just another hard night.  They had worked till morning – all to no avail.  Fishing was in a recession and all there was left to do was tend to the nets.  Peter, Andrew, James and John were doing just that.  As they sat on the lakeshore, tired, disgusted, and probably worried about how they were going to survive the poor fishing business, along came Jesus.  From other texts, we know that they knew Him, but it was early enough in the ministry that for the most part Jesus was a charismatic carpenter.  So when Jesus told these experienced fishermen to go back out to the open water and fish it is no wonder they were skeptical.  Yet they were aware enough of His miracles to date, to go ahead and do what He said.  And the results were phenomenal.  There were so many fish that nets were breaking and extra help had to be called in.

                If Jesus came into your life and gave you material abundance far in excess of what you needed, how would you react?  Would you see the benefits of being a Christian and begin to ask Jesus for more and more?  I dare say that is what most of us would do.  But that is not how Peter reacted.  What he saw in the abundance of the material blessing was the reality of the Blessor.  He fell at the feet of Jesus and cried out, “Lord go away from me, for I am a sinful man.”  You see, Peter did not have an encounter with a miracle worker; he had an encounter with a Holy God.  And his reaction was the same as Abraham’s, Moses’, Elijah’s, Isaiah’s, Ezekiel’s, and many others.  When a mere mortal, has a real encounter with a Holy God, all they can see is their own imperfections.  And the result for each of these men was that they left everything to follow Him.  Peter, Andrew, James, and John “left everything and followed Jesus.”  Matthew, just a few verses later is said to have “left everything and followed Him.”

                Isn’t it strange how some people can come face to face with Jesus and be angry at Him (like the Pharisees of old, and the news media today), and others have an encounter with Him and all they can do is worship.  What is the difference?  Why have people for 2000 years had such a variance of reaction to Jesus?  I think the answer lies in what they are looking for in a God.  If a person (take the media) is sickened by the events of the world, when day after day they see the killings, abductions, recessions, unemployment, and international conflict leading to dead and starving bodies everywhere, they are looking for a God who can cure all that.  And when God does not bring an end to human misery, they ridicule and doubt.  But if a person is seeking God for who He is, they see something entirely different.  They look beyond the miracles (and sometimes the lack thereof) and seek Him only.  So when the encounter comes the reactions are entirely different.  One is angry like the Pharisees and the modern media, and the other falls to their knees and follows Him for the rest of their lives.

                Now the question in your mind must be, “why does this matter?”   Well, it matters because so many Christians are seeking Jesus for what He can do and when He doesn’t heal their loved one, preserve their job, protect their 401k, cure their pains, or answer their prayers as they prayed them, they either leave the faith (as is happening in droves in America) or they sink into a life of nominal Christianity.  And the result, the church in the western world is dying.  But in the rest of the world, where material blessings aren’t the reason for faith, Christianity is growing exponentially.   People in the Sudan, Malaysia, and other war torn and persecuted areas see Christ not as their way out, but as their strength in times of trouble, their purpose when life seems to have no purpose.  They see God holy, high and exalted and One to be worshiped – not because of what He can do for them, but for who He is.  And the cynic might say, “and yeah, look at what good it does them.”  But they would say, “Evil exists in the world, and God is at my side eternally.”

                How do you look at your encounter with a Holy God?  Examine your life today.  For if you have slipped into nominal Christianity, living life as if God were not real, it is doubtful you see God for who He is.  But if your passion for Christ burns deeply within you, your encounter is real and your life is on a pathway for joy beyond anything you can ever imagine.  So now – today – is a good time to drop your nets, everything you have, and follow Him.  For only there will you ever find the peace and abundance God has in store for you.  Only then will you be able with Paul to say, “I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.  I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything.  I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.  For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.”  And I might add, He wrote this is a prison cell awaiting execution.


Kingdom Road Ministries
PO Box 503
10 South Main, Suite 201
Victor, ID 83455
903-262-5088
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