Summary: Jesus takes his disciples from shallower faith to deeper faith.
ENCOUNTERING JESUS IN OUR LIFE
John Tung, 10-15-00
Tiger Woods had one of the most incredible first years of any professional golfer in 1997. He won the prestigious Masters Tournament by an unheard of 12 strokes. He went on to win 4 of the 15 tournaments, earning $1.8 million in prize money and $60 million in endorsements from Nike and other companies.
But he did not stop there. Instead, right after the Masters, he called his coach and told him that he wanted to change his swing. He said his swing was not good. He wanted to make improvements. He was willing to risk his swing that had won him so many tournaments in order to further improve his skills, especially controlling his shots.
His coach believed that he could do it. But that it won't be easy, and it would take time. So he and his coach worked on hitting hundreds of practice balls, studying videotapes of his swings, pumping irons, especially for his forearms.
While he was reconstructing his swing, he won only 1 tournament in the next 19 months. But he persisted. And one day, it came. He felt that his swing was now just right and that he could control his shots much better than before.
In the next 14 tournaments, he won 10 of them, including 6 in a row, 3 of the four major championships, winning $6 million dollars, and he just signed a $100 million endorsement contract (TIME, July. 2000).
And yet many people did not know that he completely revamped his swings and golf game after his first year. Why did he make a change? Why did he change a good thing?
The reason is because he wanted to be better and he knew he could be better.
Likewise, Jesus is not afraid of changing some things, even good things, because there is some other thing he wanted to accomplish.
With Jesus however, he is not interested in winning human trophies and endorsements, and it is not that he needs to improve himself, but he is interested in winning people and winning them over to himself.
One such incident in which Jesus changed from doing one thing to another occurred in Luke 5. Let's read Lk. 5:1-11. [Read.]
II. Jesus Encountered Peter
Look at what Jesus was already doing here.
He was teaching a crowd of peoples the word of God. They were listening to him. He had a captive audience, what more could he ask for? Wasn't this what he was sent to earth to do, to teach people about God and the way of salvation. But then he saw something else that attracted his attention.
He saw two boats by the water's edge. Two old boats used for fishing. There were two boats because fishermen often worked together in a coop arrangement to catch more fish (Bible Background Comm., 201). Jesus saw the fishermen washing their nets that they used to catch their fish. And Jesus changed what he was doing.
He stopped. He went over to the boats and asked one of the fishermen to take him out on the boat a little ways from the shore.
And the fisherman, named Simon, did just that. Jesus sat down in the boat and continued to teach the people from there.
Now Jesus was in a different location. He could still address the people, maybe more effectively since they could all see him now further away from them and his voice may be able to project to more them since he was facing all of them and the shore functioned better acoustically like an amphitheater (BBC, 201).
But I believe there was clearly another reason why Jesus wanted to speak from the boat. He wanted later on to talk to the owner of the boat, Simon.
And this observation leads us to the first point we want to make about Jesus: He is not only interested in crowds, he is also interested in you individually.
A. Jesus Is Never Too Busy to Meet with Just You
Jesus could relate to the crowds as a classroom teacher, but he also wanted to relate to a person named Simon as an individual tutor.
In our kids' school, teachers are willing to meet with kids after school in order to help them with particular questions or difficulties they have about math, or English, or other subjects. These teachers are copying what Jesus is doing here, not only interested in a large class of students, but also individual students.
And this is true for how Jesus wants to relate to you too. Jesus is not only interested in us as a congregation gathered to worship him, which he delights in, but he is also personally interested in meeting with each of us one on one.