CONTENDING WITH THE ENEMY (1) – Luke 5

 

The Gospel of Luke Chapter 5

ONE:     AN UNEXPECTED FISHING TRIP

Luke 5:1-11

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. 2 He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signalled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

 

 

ALL THE PIECES OF STAND-ALONE INFORMATION

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret,

the people were crowding around him

and listening to the word of God.

2 He saw at the water’s edge two boats,

left there by the fishermen,

who were washing their nets.

3 He got into one of the boats,

the one belonging to Simon,

and asked him to put out a little from shore.

Then he sat down

and taught the people from the boat.

4 When he had finished speaking,

he said to Simon,

“Put out into deep water,

and let down the nets for a catch.”

5 Simon answered,

“Master, we’ve worked hard all night

and haven’t caught anything.

But because you say so,

I will let down the nets.”

6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.

7 So they signalled their partners in the other boat to come and help them,

and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

8 When Simon Peter saw this,

he fell at Jesus’ knees and said,

“Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”

9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken,

10 and so were James and John,

the sons of Zebedee,

Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon,

“Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.”

11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

 

 

THIS INFORMATION EXPRESSED IN MY OWN WORDS

  1. This incident happened at Capernaum, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee
  2. Jesus was standing beside the edge of the Sea.
  3. People were gathering around him.
  4. He was teaching the word of God.
  5. He saw two boats at the edge of the Sea.
  6. They belonged to fishermen.
  7. The fishermen were washing their nets.
  8. Jesus climbed into one of the boats.
  9. It belonged to Simon.
  10. He asked them to put the boat out from the shore.
  11. He sat in the boat
  12. He taught the people who gathered along the shore from the better vantage point of the boat.
  13. He finished the teaching.
  14. He asked Simon to take the boat to where the water was deeper.
  15. He also asked him to put down the nets to catch some fish.
  16. Simon replied that it was a bad idea. They had tried to catch fish all night and had caught nothing.
  17. He added that out of respect for him (Jesus), he would humour him by letting down the nets.
  18. When they let down the nets, they were filled with fish to the point where the nets were going to break.
  19. They called their partners to come and help them pull in all the fish.
  20. The two boats were so full of fish that they were starting to sink.
  21. When Peter realised what had happened he fell down at Jesus’ knees.
  22. He told Jesus to separate from him because he (Peter) was sinful and Jesus was holy.
  23. He and all of his companions were overwhelmed by the supernatural work they had just witnessed.
  24. James and John were also amazed at what had happened.
  25. Jesus spoke again to Simon.
  26. He told him not to be afraid of the supernatural.
  27. He explained that in the future the same supernatural work would happen but with people, not fish.
  28. The fishermen pulled their boats back to the shore.
  29. They left everything to become followers of Jesus.

 

 


CONTENDING FOR THE KINGDOM RULE OF GOD AGAINST THE DEMONISED KINGDOMS OF THIS WORLD

 

 

Jesus modelled the way we should engage in this battle and the gospel records present us with many different situations where the presence of the kingdom of darkness was made known and where Jesus advanced against that kingdom with weapons designed to neutralise the intention of the enemy and establish the rule of the kingdom of God. It is important to identify what WAS a work of the enemy and HOW Jesus engaged – not with flesh and blood, “but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”[1]

It will become apparent to any reader of the gospels that the presence and work of the enemy took on a great variety of forms. Some would have been considered respectable and honourable. Others were sincere and well-intentioned. My own reading of the description given in Ephesians 6 is that the work of the enemy can be known by any or all of four intentions: to control, to overpower, to obfuscate and to substitute what is good with what is destructive.[2] We know from other parts of the New Testament that, such is the subtlety, the enemy can present as an “angel of light.”[3]

The question is: How did the presence and work of the enemy show up at the lake near Capernaum on this particular day? Before you read my own observations, I would love you to read the passage again. The best way to do it would be to print out a copy of the text and use a highlighter to signify “enemy” presence or work.

Here are the places I would highlight:

  1. “Simon answered, ‘Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.’” (5)
  2. “When Simon saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, ‘Go away from me Lord; I am a sinful man.’” (8)
  3. “Jesus said to Simon, ‘Don’t be afraid, from now on you will fish for people.’” (10)

 

 

  1. THE BATTLE AGAINST PRESUMED KNOWLEDGE BASED ON PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE

 “Simon answered, ‘Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.’” (5)  

I am certain you have heard as many sermons on this passage as I have. I am equally certain that you have never heard anyone use this passage to teach about spiritual warfare (which I am calling “Combat Ready”). One of the other Biblical terms associated with spiritual warfare is the idea of “strongholds.” Paul refers to this in 2 Corinthians where he says, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.” [4] Ed Silvoso has, perhaps, produced the best definition of a stronghold going around. He says it is “a mindset impregnated with hopelessness that causes us to accept as unchangeable situations we know are contrary to the will of God.” [5] As Jesus taught the word of God to people on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, the presence of the enemy came neither from Roman soldiers nor from religious leaders. It turned up as a series of ideas in the mind of a fisherman who had believed everything he had been taught as a pious Jew. These ideas took a long time to form and were reinforced many times from early childhood. As a result, a kind of mental fortress was built. Inside the fortress were multiple ideas that became strong and never tested. Their power to dominate was completely unnoticed, but dominate they did.

The story rolls along in a peaceful and unhindered fashion at the beginning. Jesus walked beside the lake. People gather around to hear what he had to say. He started to teach them. More people gathered. It was getting harder for people to hear. Peter and Andrew’s boat was nearby and they were packing down for the day, cleaning their nets. For very practical reasons, Jesus asked Peter to allow him to use the boat so that the people could stand along the shore and hear what he was saying. Jesus finally concluded the teaching session.

The next bit creates the kingdom clash, and it is an extremely common human experience. Remember, Jesus is the presence of God’s nature and purpose anywhere. As such he represents the proximity of the kingdom of God. From the very first day of ministry, his message was, “The time has come, the kingdom of God is near, repent and believe the good news.”[6]  “Near” is a very important idea when it comes to the coming and presence of the kingdom. “Near” means accessible but not ineluctable. The words of Jesus make it clear: the kingdom of God can only be accessed through repentance and faith. Set aside the old idea that repentance is restricted to “being sorry for our sins.” We know from Esau that we are quite capable of being “sorry” but without any hint of repentance.[7] The best way to think about repentance comes from the two root words used to make the compound word in the original Greek: meta = change, noia = mind; that is, to change your mind or change the way you think about something). So Jesus is telling us that the kingdom of God is near, but it cannot be accessed unless we are willing to change the way we think about certain things. The message of the kingdom will always challenge us to change our ideas and commit to what the message is telling us. There is a choice to be made, and the result will be the outcome of that choice. I know this will not be shared by the people whose view of there sovereignty of God comes from John Calvin – or more so, his amplifying followers. The idea that human choice will always be at the direction of the divine makes a mockery of both divinity and humanity. We can see the exercise of such an option happening in this incident.

Jesus, the rabbi tells the fishermen to go fishing in a place where, under any normal circumstances, there would be no fish, at a time of the day when no one would be fishing. Add to this the fact that they had spent a long and frustrating night fishing in all of the likely places and the right time – but caught nothing. This is a classic clash. You could simplify it to a dispute between human reason(and experience) and revelation, but it probably needs to be understood more broadly. This is a life experience, not an intellectual debate. What happens when God says something that sounds crazy to a mind that has been formed by the thinking of the kingdom of this world (i.e. Satan’s kingdom). Everything inside that mind screams out an aggressive, “Nooooo waaaaay! Since when does a preacher know how to catch fish – and the idea that we could just push out a few yards and fish would come rushing to jump into our net is totally ridiculous.” You might have noticed that the Bible is full of stories like this. Before you start to justify every crazy idea as having presumed godliness, notice that Jesus started this battle by something he said.  The King of the Kingdom was making his royal presence manifest. We should take care to notice the full import of this statement. As Jesus was speaking these words, a flurry of marine activity was stirring beneath the surface of the lake, not far from where the boat had been parked. Even though there was no evidence to the humans involved, the rule of the kingdom was happening below. At this part of the process, Jesus was the only one who had access to this information but not through any of the physical senses, by human reasoning or historical precedent.

The struggle that rises up inside Peter (and no doubt the others as well) is resolved in an interesting way. Hands up those people who think that Peter fully believed they were going to catch fish based on what Jesus had asked them to do? I see no hands. The text provides us with the answer. Peter and his friends were astonished because, even though they were willing to tolerate the suggestion, they were convinced that there would be no fish. It sheds a significant bit of light on the matter of exercising faith. It tells us that faith may not always be a level of conviction that gives us psychological certainty about the ultimate outcome. Faith may well be a simple willingness to obey what Jesus says without any idea of the outcome. In other words, it is a bunch of actions, not mental attitudes. I think it would be correct to say that it is possible to have a full-blown mental assurance about something and be disobedient as much as it is (and was, in this case) possible to be full of doubts about the outcome, but be willing to obey what Jesus has said. Jesus actually told a story about this very issue.[8] He said a father told his two sons to go and work in the field. One said he would go but didn’t. The other said he wouldn’t go, but ended up going. His point was that many of the people listening to him thought that they had the monopoly on God’s favour just because they were Jewish, even leaders within the religious system. But they were not responding to what God had told them to do. In many cases, the people they despised as “sinners” were listening to what God was saying and were embracing the kingdom of God. It is another example of faith being expressed through obedience rather than any particular emotional feeling of assurance.

Just think what might have happened if Peter and the others had said, “No, this is stupid. We’re not going to humour such foolishness and waste our time.” There would be no miracle, no amazement and Peter might have lived the rest of his life as a fisher of fish in Capernaum. It might be easy to dismiss this presence of the enemy as unimportant. For us to talk about this incident as an example of spiritual warfare might seem an overkill. The fact is that it was powerful enough to prevent Peter from becoming the follower of Jesus we all know. It was so at that time and remains as powerful today. No doubt there are a lot of people who stay separated from Jesus because the things they have learned and the ideas and attitudes they developed as they grew up in a secular (demonically ruled) kingdom are believed instead of what Jesus says. I think it is among the most common daily forms of spiritual warfare and one that we need to be aware of, armed for and skilled in fighting against.

  1. THE BATTLE AGAINST FALSE VIEW OF GOD

“When Simon saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, ‘Go away from me Lord; I am a sinful man.’” (8)

As seemed to be his manner, Peter was the first and only one of the crew to fully embrace his failure. The first sign of the presence of the kingdom of God happened in the words Jesus had spoken. The second, was when they humoured Jesus by going through the motions of casting out the nets and found they were filling with fish. Their immediate reaction was a very fishermen-like one. They hauled in the fish and got their friends to join them. Energised from their all-night-nothing experience, they kept hauling and hauling. They had not seen so many fish. But the next part of the story is also revealing. Peter realised that Jesus was a holy man. He was obviously connected to God and therefore must be regarded as holy – like God is holy.

His actions have a certain irony about them. He was overwhelmed by his own sinfulness. He had regarded the suggestion of Jesus with unconfessed disdain. He probably considered Jesus as a preacher-man who knew nothing about fishing. This became the first occasion where Peter (and the others) saw Jesus exercise kingly rule over a sphere of nature. He was patently ashamed of his sinfulness. It is a testimony to the presence and nature of Jesus as a person that Peter did what he did. He scrambled along the boat to where Jesus was sitting and fell upon Jesus’ knees. The fact that he ran in that direction is of huge importance. The traditional idea of sinfulness was to run and hide from holiness. People thought that God’s holy presence would kill them if they ever experienced it.[9] Somehow, Jesus didn’t radiate that kind of presence. Peter felt sinful but wanted to be close to Jesus at the same time. I would love to see more of us get this message. How easy it is to feel that sin separates us from God. It didn’t stop God from searching for Adam and Eve in the garden. It didn’t prevent God from sending prophets to speak of his love to his people, despite their long-term commitment to be disloyal to him. It never stopped Jesus from hanging out with official card-carrying sinners of many kinds. But when Jesus got to Jesus the traditional view of God kicked in.  If he was sinful, Jesus wouldn’t want anything to do with him !  His outburst is filled with irony, Peter tells him to get away from him.

It is true that sins and sinfulness separate us from God, but it is not in the way we have often been taught to think. Those who hold a view similar to the great Jonathan Edwards, expressed so graphically in his sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”[10], have the idea that a holy God must turn his face from sin. The assumption that it is a mark of his holy-otherness that requires it. The problem is that Jesus never, on any occasion did that – and he witnessed a great deal of sin happening in his thirty-three years of life on this earth. The assumption that God turned his face away from Jesus on the cross[11] is entirely without evidential support in the same way as the idea that God’s holiness shuns sin. It is the exact opposite. God’s holiness sees Jesus WANT to be with sinners (to see them rescued) and the presence of the Love makes sinners want to be with Jesus. We see this on every page of the gospels. It is the devil’s lie that God doesn’t like us when we are sinners. How can the good shepherd leave the presence of ninety-nine righteous ones to go and look for one lost sinner if he is abhorred by the presence of sin. No, he wants to forgive it, cleanse it, transform our hearts and fully restore us to our full vocation as sons and daughters of our heavenly Father.

Peter thought Jesus would have nothing to do with him because of the dark equation in his mind. It was a demonic stronghold that would have needlessly locked him away from being redeemed, empowered and fully employed in the family business. All of us have had some experience with this dark thought: God is holy; I am sinful; therefore he wants nothing to do with me – not until I stop sinning. Bad idea, because the truth is precisely the opposite. God loves me, even though I am a sinner. He comes seeking me because he loves me. He wants to offer me a way home; the opportunity to be reconciled and the chance to exchange a sin-based lifestyle for a righteous one. What saved Peter was the fact that he didn’t just jump out of the boat and never look at Jesus again. He didn’t go off and sit in the lonely squalor of self-recrimination and shame. He ran and fell on Jesus’ knees. We need to keep learning this lesson. We need to maintain a correct view of what God is like. Jesus makes that known every day, every recorded incident and supremely as he embraces the cross.

The outcome in Capernaum:

Round Two: Kingdom of God 2 v. Kingdom of Darkness 0

  1. THE BATTLE AGAINST FALSE ASSUMPTIONS RE: FOLLOWING JESUS

 “Jesus said to Simon, ‘Don’t be afraid, from now on you will fish for people.’” (10)

Isn’t it interesting that Peter’s first problem was with what he thought he knew? He knew about kingdom-of-this-world-fishing, but not kingdom of God fishing. Then his problem was with what he thought he knew about God’s attitude toward sin. He was overwhelmed with his sense of sin but had been entirely failed by the religious system to understand that it was his sin that Jesus wanted to deal with, not turn away from. Those two things settled, Peter now faces a third problem. Yet another assumption gets in the way. Now that his sin has been openly confessed, the assumption is that he would never be qualified to follow and serve Jesus. If he has proven to have doubts and fears, then it only follows that he is destined to put out the chairs, make the tea and do the washing up in the work of the kingdom. Being a sinner can make us afraid and fear can disqualify us from freely and fully serving God – it will deal with us unless we deal with it.

This is a tricky little assumption. It often hides deep down. The enemy who wants us to disregard the amazing grace and power of God will have us notice all kinds of things that might disqualify us. I am constantly amazed at the reasons people (including myself) offer for NOT embracing the call and commission of God. We are so prone to exalt our human personality type, our complacency and set of personally installed preferences. These days we are prone to limit the call of God to those things that we have natural passion for. Why don’t we think about what God has passion for and then ask him to make our passions like his;  instead of begging him to leave us within the limits of our own comfort zone?

There is no crossover of skills and talents between fishing for fish and fishing for people. The metaphor is good, but it is still just a metaphor. Peter’s old job neither qualified nor disqualified him from following Jesus. His failure to understand the realm of Jesus kingly rule (over fish in the sea) didn’t disqualify him either. The only thing that would disqualify him would be fear – more precisely, fear about following. The idea of a fisherman becoming the disciple of a rabbi was unheard of. In fact, it was odious. Fishermen were locked somewhere near the bottom rung of Jewish society, especially Galileans. The fact that Jesus invited four of them to join him that day is a massive statement about the way kingdom of God values differ from the kingdom of this world. Peter had no qualifications to start with. Responding to Jesus’ suggestion about going fishing with such (human professional) arrogance would presume to kill any future relationship. We know from the information in the text that the whole incident had caused him to be afraid. If this incident had been a job interview for a three year full-time discipleship course, I don’ think Peter would have rated his chances. He blew it on every count – except the one that mattered.

At the end of all that, Jesus just told him to set aside his fear and offered him a job fishing for people. If I can be permitted to steal a phrase from one of the other accounts of this incident, Jesus says: “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”[12] As then, so now, it is not failure that disqualifies any more than it is our professional skills/experience (or natural ability) that qualify us for a job serving in the kingdom of God. It is our willingness to set aside fear and just follow Jesus. It is the determination to follow that qualifies us. If you look at the experiences recorded in the gospels, it is obvious. The disciples often didn’t get it. They usually made suggestions that were entirely off the mark. When told that he would suffer and be killed numerous times they simply refused to accept it. What they did was keep following. When the final shock happened and Jesus’ was taken meekly by the temple guards, then tortured, then nailed to a cross, even though they were totally overwhelmed, they stuck together. That was what qualified them. It was also what qualified them on the day of Pentecost.

It remains the sole essential qualification. They believed he was the Messiah and they kept following him. It seems to me that we have invented a whole range of qualifications that aren’t established by Jesus in the gospels. With these qualifications, we wrongly elevate some and falsely demote others. What we should be mindful of today is simply whether we are following Jesus, the Messiah. What we should be helping others to do today is to follow Jesus, the Messiah. No more, no less.

 

 

 

 

CONCLUSION

The spiritual battle demonstrated in this incident on the lake is one we need to recognise and engage with. It is a battle that goes on inside our hearts and minds. There are things we have accepted based on our human experience that, if allowed to rule, will lock us out of a journey with Jesus to see miracles happening. He taught a fisherman how to fish according to the principles of the kingdom of God – i.e. you can catch fish where there are no signs of any fish[13] as long as Jesus tells you when and where. Jesus needs to teach parents how to parent, judges how to judge, leaders how to lead and so on. We need to set aside normal expectations in favour of what Jesus says. It is a battle, but we need to use the weapons of warfare that are not carnal but are able to pull down these very common strongholds in our minds and hearts.

We have to identify ideas that exist that paint a wrong picture of God’s nature and purpose. Jesus is the full revelation of the nature and purpose of the Father. Any image of God that is not represented by Jesus needs to be set aside. We need to view God through the lens of Jesus, his only begotten Son. There are a lot of mistruths around, and we need to fight against them, first of all in our own hearts and then as we make Him known to others. There is an important set of reasons for this. Just look at what would have happened if Peter’s view of God and sin had prevailed. Peter would have slinked off into a lonely corner of Capernaum full of shame, failure and regret. He would have assumed that God no longer liked him because he was a sinner and would have tried hard to absolve his own guilt by doing things to try and earn God’s favour once again. All of those thoughts, feelings and ideas would have controlled, overpowered, obfuscated and destroyed his world – just as Paul talked about in Ephesians 6. Jesus spoke truth to Peter. His love overlooked the arrogance and ignorance of his behaviour. He preached the gospel by offering Peter the opportunity of following. The fish that filled the boats were tangible expressions of his faith. This faith arose from a secure relationship with his Father. This relationship was imbued with his Father’s words and his Father’s presence sustained by prayer. All of the weapons described by Paul are activated here – and the kingdom of God wins, the human people who were formerly influence by the devil win –  and the devil loses his grip and the battle.

Finally, we need to fight against impoverished human attitudes about qualification. The war is between the grace and power of God and with the way he accepts and qualifies people. Greek culture, like most of western civilisation, places so much emphasis on academic training, human ability and experience. The apostle, Paul had to contend with fine looking, fine sounding teachers who came to the church, not to help people become more devoted to Jesus but to gather followers for themselves. They did it by using sophisticated presentations and fine sounding words. For a contemporary illustration, go and watch one or two TED talks. I am not suggesting these are unworthy; I’m just pointing out that TED presentations are the epitome of western sophistication. They are designed to appeal to contemporary young mindsets. Short, visual, entertaining. In most cases, the content is superb as well. My point here is not to criticise the method, but to point out that the mode is set up to give paying customers a consistent feel-good experience. To compare presentations based on the TED criteria says very little about the substance of the content and even less about the spiritual dynamic. Qualification to work in the kingdom of God operates by a different dynamic. It depends on the quality of our relationship with Jesus. It depends on the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. It could  happen through a TED-style presentation, but it will also happen with none of the TED elements.

I think we are prone to fall foul of this idea. We are so clever that we can offer people presentations of such excellence that the excellence itself is assumed to be the conduit that carries the presence of God. Of course, it can – but it doesn’t automatically do so. Often our comparisons relate to human tools and human ability, not anointing and Holy Spirit presence. We know from the Corinthian letters that, Paul didn’t measure up to the standards of people who were claiming to be superior apostles. In reminding them that the issue was measured according to a “sincere and pure devotion to Christ”[14], he was saying the same thing as Jesus did to Peter and the other fishermen at the lake. We need to continue to fight this battle, for our own sake as well as for the sake of our fellow believers. There is so much arrogance, status-seeking and ego parading going on among Christian leaders. It comes from darkness, not light. It produces darkness and locks people away from Jesus.

On this day, in his own boat on his own lake Peter had his first lesson in kingdom of God qualifications: listen to Jesus, trust and obey Jesus and keep following Jesus – and Jesus will make us competent fishers of people. And no part of the “lake” will be devoid of fish to catch. To mix the metaphors, the fields will be white for harvest. Our lack of simple following has produced empty nets and barns. This is a battle that Jesus wants to help us to win.

[1]         See Ephesians 6:12

[2]         See reference above

[3]         See 2 Corinthians 11:12-15 And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. 13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

[4]         2 Corinthians 10:4-6

[5]         “That None Should Perish” Ed Silvoso, Regal 1995

[6]         See Mark 1:16

[7]         See Hebrews 12:14-17 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.

[8]         Matthew 21:28-32 “What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterwards he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterwards change your minds and believe him.”

[9]         The Old Testament is full of examples of this idea. Moses certainly thought he would die, as did Jacob before him.

[10]       This sermon can be downloaded from links such as this one

https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1053&context=etas

[11]       See Matthew 27:46

[12]       Matthew 4:18-20 “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.”

[13] My own fishing experiences have never proved this. In fact, I can’t even catch fish when everyone else around me is catching plenty.

[14]       See 2 Corinthians 11

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About Brian

Passionate follower of Jesus. Member of a family that keeps on growing because I keep on meeting up with more great people from every nation and background who I belong to because of Jesus. Husband of an amazing woman, father of four forgiving kids and eight almost perfect grandkids. And loving it.