I believe in miracles – I believe God continues to do supernatural things! He may do them simply out of compassion in answer to believing prayer. He may work miraculously to work deliverance and justice. His power may be displayed as a declaration of the presence of the Kingdom of God present among us. But He may also act supernaturally to capture the attention of unbelievers and open the door of their heart to the gospel!
In my Bible reading this morning read a passage that I think reveals that… It’s the story of Simon Peter’s call to discipleship.
Imagine this… A commercial fisherman has worked all night on Lake Gennesaret or the Sea of Galilee… A long hard night of work – frustrating! And nothing to show for it – nothing! Dawn finally comes, and Simon Peter pulls his fishing boat to shore, disgusted and discouraged!
A crowd is gathering on shore – quite a large crowd – to hear someone called Jesus – a popular religious teacher. The crowd is so large and anxious to hear this guy speak that there is almost no place for him to stand! In fact, it looks like they might push Him right into the water! Jesus asks Simon if He might use his boat and Simon agrees. He pushes out a bit from shore and the teaching begins… Marvelous teaching! Simon is impressed – the powerful truth of Jesus’ message penetrates his heart!
Jesus completes His teaching, dismisses the crowd, and then pauses, and almost as an afterthought says to Simon, “Put out into deeper water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon can’t believe this guy! They had fished all night – the best possible time for fishing! Not only that, as professional fishermen, they knew the very best spots! They had tried every fisherman’s trick in the book… all night! And NOTHING! But the authority of Jesus and the powerful truth of His message had impacted Simon Peter. So he responded to Jesus’ challenge with these words, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets!”
And then the miracle! The Bible says, “They enclosed such a large number of fish that their nets were breaking! They signaled to their partners in another boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats so that they began to sink!”
Simon Peter’s response? “He fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying ‘Depart from me! I am a sinful man, O Lord!” James and John, partners with Simon, were also blown away by the miracle! Belief in Jesus was catalyzed in their hearts by the miracle! And then Jesus spoke to Simon, “Do not be afraid! From now on you will be catching men!” And the result? They left everything… that’s right EVERYTHING, and followed Jesus! (Read it for yourself! Luke 5:1-11)
Let me say it again… I believe in miracles! I believe they are a tool God often uses to capture the attention of unbelieving people, draw them to Himself, and open the door of their heart to the Gospel! My prayer? Oh God, do it again! Do it among us! Do it in our world and our skeptical culture! And may many, like Simon Peter be drawn to faith in Jesus Christ and begin the wonderful life-journey of following Jesus, the Savior-Messiah!