As we have learned, perversion is best described as willful operation in darkness, particularly in the presence of light. As believers in Christ it is of the utmost importance that our deeds of love be made manifest to all men, so that our light continues to shine in the midst of darkness.
“35Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning*; 36And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.”*
Jesus is soon to return, and we must do all we can to be prepared and expecting when He does. That means knowing what to do and what to avoid, and maintaining our light is especially important in navigating the current season of rapidly increasing darkness, which is iniquity and perversion. The foundation of righteous behavior is is the anticipation of Christ’s return. In the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, Jesus draws a direct comparison between those who are keeping their light and those who are expecting the bridegroom.
Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. 6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. 7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. 11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. 13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
As children of God, we had better be ready, expecting and hopeful for the coming of the Lord, especially in seasons of rising darkness and perversion.
Our faithful obedience is evidence that we are aware of the last days, and it is also the key to having discernment within them. Those who deny the truth and walk in iniquity only deceive themselves. Paul recognized that the crown of righteousness is the reward of those who anticipate His appearing.
2 Timothy 4:7-8
7I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
In this season which is the night season of humanity, Satan is lulling believers into idolatry, idleness, fear, and drunkenness through a multitude of deceptive efforts, all of which might be categorized as a state of spiritual sleep. The Lord is coming back for those who are looking for Him, and an earnest expectation for the return of Jesus is critical for our discernment and endurance.
The First Fishing Miracle
Let’s look to an unsuspecting place for additional revelation on the importance of expecting Jesus.
And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. 3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. 4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. 5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. 6 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. 7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. 9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: 10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. 11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.
Things to note about Luke 5:1-11 fishing miracle:
There are several things to note about this first fishing miracle performed by Jesus. As always, there’s much more to the story than is recognized on first read. Let’s observe some key aspects, and we’ll compare them later:
- Jesus was with them on the boat. (v. 3, v. 10) ****This signifies how disciples of Jesus are given a time of mercy and provided with teaching needed to learn what is required and necessary to learn what satisfies God. Early on in their ministry, as with ours, a lack of preparation is somewhat understood due to a lack of experience. Thus we are comforted and encouraged not to fear.
- Jesus is in the flesh. This highlights the fact that Jesus is willing to appeal to us in a realm where we can physically detect Him with out senses. Often times, salvation is introduced by a very material means. Bills are paid, sicknesses are healed and monetary solutions are attained because this is the language that carnal-minded individual understands. God provided bread to Israel in the wilderness, and He often does the same with us.
- It is early/the beginning of these disciples’ ministry. With this event, the disciples received their call to follow Jesus, just as we have an opportunity to follow Him after He appeals to us in a showing of power.
- The net breaks. (v. 6) ****Early in our ministry we are incapable of holding what the Lord gives to us, and we are susceptible to break under the weight of our ministry. The power of the Holy Spirit becomes too much for people wish to continue operation under their physical power. Therefore, weight of glory ‘breaks’ them.
- They were fearful of Jesus’ obvious divine nature. (v. 8) ****As with Simon Peter, the recognition of the Lord’s divine power should cause us to feel unworthy of being in His presence, but we are comforted by His love and assurance of our purpose.
- They left everything behind to follow Jesus (v. 11) ****When we make the choice to follow Christ, we forsake everything. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we become possessionless wanderers. It simply means that every thing we do possess is available for sacrifice in favor of the Lord’s will. As Simon realized, they had toiled all night to no avail anyway. So they might as well follow Jesus.
In this situation, you could say that Jesus caught the disciples off-guard since they were not expecting Jesus to show up, and they were unprepared to cope with the divinity that entered their presence. The details of this miracle and their resulting actions and responses were prophetic symbols of their lack of preparedness and signs that they needed to be taught to be obedient—to be fishers of men. Through their learning experience, the Lord showed them mercy.
Early in our lives and ministry. Jesus does us much the same. He recognizes that we need to be taught what pleases the Father, so He takes it upon Himself to physically demonstrate the power of righteousness and obedience. As long as we continue to obey the Lord’s commands, we continue to learn His desires, perspective and purpose for us. Thus we continue to grow in power, and we are prepared to endure.
A Living Sacrifice
To be fishers of men is our honorable sacrifice. It is what we are grateful to do in gratitude of the sacrifice Jesus makes unto us. The miracle of the full fishing nets draws out two key points:
- Our efforts can never ensure our physical or spiritual survival, so we might as well serve the One who can.
- When our focus changes from gathering meat for our kingdom to gathering souls for the kingdom of God, He abundantly takes care of our needs by His grace and power.
Sadly much of today’s Christian world, particularly in the western world, has lost focus of these truths. When you have an abundance of possessions or believe you have the means to gather more on your own, you are not as inclined to “recast your net” in obedience to Christ. Similarly, among people and nations of excess, the desire for obey Jesus diminishes.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
There is no inclination to obey the Lord where people don’t perceive the need to. People fail to realize just how catastrophic a life full of pleasure is to spiritual discernment. The more we learn of Jesus, the more we hunger and thirst for the righteousness that only He can bring. The more we consume Him and the truths of His word, the more we are filled and satisfied. But when we indulge ourselves in entertainment, comfort, delicacies and luxuries and overall pleasures of this world, we become desensitized to the call of God. We become so “full” of sugar that we lose our appetite for Jesus. As people continue to enjoy pleasures, they become addictions that they justify, vehemently deny or fiercely defend.
Complainers, Murmurers and Blasphemers
Carnal Christians complain only because the fear losing their possessions. Otherwise, what cause is there to complain to God. Just as the children of Israel complained because they had no bread, today’s Christians often complain for the same reasons, but just as God hoped to teach the children of Israel, the greatest satisfaction of our lives comes when we realize that He is all we need. He is the bread of life and the living water that sustains and brings satisfaction to all life. In Him we are filled and fulfilled. But when people fail to realize this, the thought of losing their material possessions causes them to complain and murmur.
The more comfortable you become in your possessions, the more likely you are to hate anyone or anything that threatens them, even if that is Jesus. A frequent sign that people have become attached to their sinful behavior is they begin murmuring.
“12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure. 14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; ”*
Thus a failure to freely love and obey the command to sacrifice our bodies and lives unto Him will result in manifestations of darkness. Remember Philippians 2:14 tells us to “Do all things without murmurings and disputings.” To murmur is to secretly express your displeasure, and there is a significant danger in doing so.
DEF Mutter: say something in a low or barely audible voice, especially in dissatisfaction or irritation.
DEF Murmur: express one’s discontent about (someone or something) in a subdued manner. (Discreet Discontent)
People only murmur and mutter when they don’t want their emotions openly detected, and it is especially dangerous to assume God that is unaware of our heart’s intent. It is not only foolish but deadly, and it hastens judgment. It’s foolish because the Lord already knows the things of our hearts, which Jesus often demonstrated to the Pharisees who conspired against him. It is deadly because unexpressed displeasure and discontent grows into outright perversion. Murmuring occurs when a heart that is full of self starts leaking into action. It is the sprout of iniquity that grows into open acts of evil.
This is one reason prayer is important, because part of prayer is a RELEASE of discontent, displeasure & misunderstanding in exchange for the Father’s wisdom and endurance.
2My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
5If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.*
According to James, the Lord is willing to give us wisdom to understand and endure the temptations around us, but we must talk to him and be honest about the things He already knows are there.
Have you ever noticed that if someone whispers to you, you automatically whisper back, even if what is being spoken doesn’t need to be kept secret. Then, after speaking a couple of words, you stop and ask, “wait, why are we whispering?” This is the affect that murmurers can have on you. They can can cause you to do the same, until you realize you don’t have to murmur. You can simply openly talk to God.
“35And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. 36But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. 37All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. 41The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. 42And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? 43Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. 44No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 45It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. 46Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. 47Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. 48I am that bread of life. 49Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 51I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. 52The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? 53Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. 57As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me*. 58This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. 59These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.
Many Disciples Turn Away 60Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? 61When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? 62What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? 63It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. 64But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. 65And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
Peter’s Confession of Faith 66From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. 67Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? 68Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 69And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. 70Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? 71He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.”*
Murmuring goes beyond complaining.
The truth is that our salvation is directly determined by our willingness to partake of “bread” which is to “partake of His flesh.” But what did Jesus mean by this? How do we eat His flesh and drink His blood exactly? What do we do when we partake in communion or the feast of the passover? These difficult sayings of Jesus had very specific, spiritual meanings.
That idea that we must partake of His His flesh and blood means that no one is exalted from judgment unless they are willing to suffer in the flesh as Jesus suffered and operated by the same Holy Spirit that He operated by. The bread is His flesh which was broken for us. The blood is a bit deeper in it’s meaning, signifying that the Christ’s life giving power and identity (aka the Holy Spirit) must become who quickens us and gives us power. Again, we see that it is our willingness to break our flesh or sacrifice our selfish will and agenda that creates a heart of expectancy. It grants us discernment and allows us to be exalted upon the Lord’s return.
So don’t murmur and conspire against Jesus when you realize that sacrifice is required. Don’t be bitter against those who have done you no wrong because they cause you to be convicted. Don’t be angry when you are reminded that your earthly possessions mean nothing to God unless they are instruments brought under obedience. Don’t persecute the truth or the truth-bearer. Jesus sees your heart.
The Second Fishing Miracle
Now, let’s move to another fishing miracle performed by Jesus much later in His and observe the differences.
After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself. 2 There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. 3 Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. 4 But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. 5 Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. 6 And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. 7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea. 8 And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes. 9 As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. 10 Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. 11 Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken. 12 Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. 14 This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.
The first key difference here is that the disciples had developed a relationship with Jesus, and now they were eager to see Him again. They didn’t exactly know when He would show up, but they had a heart of expectancy. The details of this situation are all very different from those of the first fishing miracle.
Note the peculiarly different things about the second fishing miracle in John 21:1-13:
- Jesus is on the dry land this time, not on the boat with them. (v. 4) ****This is an indication of the test that believers must face while Jesus is in heaven, before He returns. In other words, what will you do in His absence? How will you prepare when He is gone? What is your perspective in the meantime?
- They were NOT fearful of divine presence but eager to be in it. Those who are earnestly expecting the return of the Lord do not operate in a spirit of fear but of love, power and a sound mind.
- The bible makes sure to note that the net did NOT break (v. 11) ****The faithful are now equipped and prepared to operate in the fullness of power of the Holy Spirit and not be deceived or destroyed by exaltation or glory.
- Jesus asks them to bring their catch of fish (v. 10) ****This may very well be a symbol that the only work Jesus acknowledges while we are on earth is the work we do to win souls. The only thing we can bring to dry land—eternal grace—is another soul.
- Notice Jesus had prepared the fish and bread was there. (v. 9) ****This symbolizes the eternal inheritance prepared for those who faithfully endure and maintain a perspective which focuses on the return of the Lord.
- Jesus is in the spirit This symbolizes the second return of Christ.
- Jesus is cooking fish by a fire and bread is also present (v. 9) ****The faithful are served a glorious feast. This scene with the fish on the fire and bread is a type and shadow of judgment. The “feast”, (which is coincidentally at BREAKFAST, is the time when the children of God and Bride of Christ dine with the Father as the kings of the world and enemies of Jesus are destroyed!
- Peter also puts on clothes before swimming to Jesus. (v. 7) ****Just as loins are girded up in preparation for work, Peter girded His loins in preparation to see Jesus.
35Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; 36And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. 37Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. 38And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.
- Notice that this is the THIRD time that Jesus shewed Himself to His disciples. (v. 14) ****Remember, the disciples had breakfast with Jesus after toiling all night. This is a revelatory sign of judgment that comes like a “thief in the night” when men are least prepared. After this third time that Jesus appears, the disciples are in celebration, but it will not be the same for those who don’t know Jesus. ****
Who would have thought that the juxtaposition of two very similar miracles would expose such great revelation. Early in the ministry of both individuals and even nations, the Lord is merciful towards our unlearned state, but He is forgiving so long as we are obedient and willing to sacrifice ourselves for His will. But if we begin to sacrifice His will for our own purpose, we enter the dangerous territory that is imminently susceptible to the wrath and judgment of God.
We learn to be disciples and servants of God’s will through prayer and study of His word, and we learn that Jesus is our fulfillment. Those who know Him can’t wait to be united with Him for eternity and carry their lights through the threatening darkness and perversion of night in anticipation of His return.
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
1But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 6Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 7For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 8But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. 9For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. 11Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.