The Old – The New (Part Four)

Are we even close to understanding the power of the New Covenant?  A great change took place.

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John 21:9 As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.

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Immediately following the second draught of fish a few days after Jesus’ resurrection, something very interesting happened on the shore of the sea that we read about, but I believe, too often, simply overlook.  Take a moment and read our Text for Today again, and in addition, think about it in the light of the temptation of Jesus following His 40-days of fasting at the beginning of His earthly ministry.   

After Jesus’ 40-day fast, the Scriptures declare that He was hungry.  I understand that.  On two occasions in my life I have undertaken a 40-day fast, and I know of the hunger at day 40.  Satan’s first temptation was for Jesus to turn stones to bread.  Could Jesus have done so?  I believe He could have.  But why did He not do so?  Yes, Jesus said that “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  But in thinking about that, I offer you a question.  Who owned the earth at that moment in time?  I believe the answer is critical in understanding a major part of the reason for Jesus’ response to Satan.  The answer to my question is “Satan.”  When God had made man in the Garden of Eden, He had given all His creation to Adam’s possession and ownership.  But when Adam committed high treason against God, he gave all that possession and ownership over to Satan.  So when Jesus entered into His ministry, He did so in a world that was not His.  And though He was able to turn stones to bread, to do so would have placed some dependency for His life upon Satan, and that was not going to happen.  Had Jesus turned those stones to bread, He would have used Satan’s possession, but Jesus trust was fully in God. 

But at the Sea of Galilee, immediately following the second draught of fish, something truly spectacular happened.  When the disciples came ashore, dragging the net full of great fish, they found fire of coals, fish, and bread.  At this time, the earth no longer was a possession of Satan, for Jesus had fully regained it at His resurrection.  Now the stones were His.  To that end, I offer you a second  question.  From where did Jesus get “coals of fire, fish, and bread?”  Could it be that the Lord was demonstrating His possession, His authority, and His ability for a New Covenant?  I believe that is precisely what He was doing.  You don’t need to go looking for fire.  He IS the Fire!  You don’t need to be concerned with empty nets, especially the spiritual ones.  The fish ARE His!  You don’t need to worry about food or any provision of any kind.  The “earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world, and all that dwell in it.”  It’s a new day; a New Covenant. 

Manna for Today John 21:1-14; Luke 5:1-7; Matthew 4:19; Mark 1:17; Matthew 4:4; Psalm 24:1

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The Old – The New (Part Three)

What a joy in knowing the glory of the New Covenant so far exceeds the glory of the Old Covenant.

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John 21:6 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.

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Today we continue our look at two draughts of fish that were miracles in the earthly ministry of Jesus; one completely under the Old Covenant, and the other after the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, and therefore, technically, under the New Covenant.  In our look into these two draughts of fish, let us consider today LOSSES

In both draughts of fishes events, the great catch followed a long night of fruitless fishing; nothing had been caught.  In the first draught, Jesus told them to “launch out into the deep,” as though He was sending them into ministry (fishers of men).  He told them to “let down your nets.”  This was a localized draught of fish; at this time Jesus had only been sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  He was still operating solely under the Old Covenant, a covenant far less glorious and powerful than that which was to come.  The net for holding the catch was not sufficient to hold all that was caught.  While we do not know what was lost numerically from the first draught of fish through broken nets, we do know that under the Old Covenant, 10 of the 12 tribes slipped away from what God had intended to be the nation of Israel.  I realize that a future time for their redemption will come, but many were the losses in all those years since their slipping away and the time of the New Covenant. 

But in the second draught of fish, Jesus told His disciples to “cast out their net.”  This time the term “net” was singular, just as the New Covenant is singular in Jesus, He being “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”  And when the disciples had obeyed His command, already having been launched into the deep, their nets did not break, and catch was so great that it could not all be brought aboard their ship, but rather they had to drag the net ashore as they came.  This is symbolic of the New Covenant.  There may be losses from the church, the body of Christ, but never because the New Covenant could not sustain the pressure.  If one is lost from the New Covenant net, it is solely because that person CHOSE to step out of covenant on their own.  Thank God the life we receive upon entering into the New Covenant is ETERNAL life.  The life God gives us does not break.  One may break FROM that life, but the life itself will NEVER break.  It is LIFE EVERLASTING, praise the Lord! 

Manna for Today John 21:1-14; Luke 5:1-7; Matthew 4:19; Mark 1:17

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The Old – The New (Part Two)

With God, things never go backward, never get worse; only forward and better.

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John 21:6 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.

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Today we continue looking at the covenant shift between the Old and New Covenants that is beautifully revealed in comparing our Text for Today and the Luke 5 passage dealing with the first draught of fish.  In both instances, we find that Peter, along with a group of disciples had fished all night and caught nothing.  Let us look more deeply today and consider the issue of NETS. 

In the Luke 5 passage, the fishermen were ashore washing their nets after the nights failed fishing.  After Jesus had used one of Peter’s boats as a teaching platform, He instructed Peter to “launch out into the deep.”  You see, at this time, neither Peter nor any of his partners had been engaged in ministry at all.  They had not gone into the “sea of humanity to become fishers of men.”  Note closely in the Luke 5 passage that Jesus, upon instructing Peter to “launch out into the deep,” also said “let down your NETS.”  What is so significant about this command is the fact that Peter only let down ONE NET.  Is it possible that Peter’s failure to be fully compliant here caused the problem of “broken net” and fish getting away?  When you consider that in the Old Covenant, there were more than 600 laws to be obeyed, and how easy it would be to fail in one of them, thus causing broader failure, it certainly seems so.  Note, too, that Peter was commanded to “let down” his nets, not cast them out as in the John passage.  At the time of the first draught of fish, Jesus had not been sent unto the world, but only unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel; thus, a very limited scope of what the net of the Old Covenant could encompass.   

But in the John passage, things were different.  The boat in question was already about 100 yards from shore; this AFTER the resurrection of Jesus.  Peter and his companions had already been engaged in the work of being “fishers of men.”  Note, too, that on this occasion, Jesus commanded them to “cast the net.”  To “cast” goes far beyond “let down.”  No longer was the message to the house of Judah alone, but is now to “all the world” and “every creature.”  And look once again at the “broken net” of the first draught, but a net that held under that load of the second draught.  What a beautiful example of the power of the New Covenant that surpasses the power of the Old Covenant.  Where the Old Covenant could not hold safely and for eternity those who entered into it, those who will come into the open net of the New Covenant can rest assured of being held safely, eternally, and with full blessing. 

Manna for Today John 21:1-14; Luke 5:1-7; Matthew 4:19; Mark 1:17

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The Old – The New (Part One)

With God, the second time may be similar, but check the differences.  The second is always better.

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John 21:6 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.

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In our Text for Today, we see the second occurrence of a draught of fish that came forth at obedience to the command of the Lord.  It will benefit one greatly to compare the two incidents, and closely note, not only the similarities, but especially the differences, and that in light of a change in operational covenants.  Let’s take a closer look. 

In Luke 5, the first draught of fish came under the Old Covenant. In that Covenant, men lived under the law of Moses, and Satan was the legal owner of the earth and its inhabitants, all that having been placed into his hands at the fall of Adam in the garden of Eden.  But the draught of fish in John 21 comes at a different Covenant place.  Jesus had defeated Satan, having been raised from the dead.  He had already cleansed heaven with His Own blood, and was now in an interim time between covenants.  The law of Moses no longer held sway in heaven, but at this precise moment, neither had the church been birthed to take its rightful place in the earth.  However, JESUS HAD ALREADY DEFEATED SATAN, BEEN RAISED FROM THE DEAD, AND WAS IN POSSESSION OF THE FULL POWER AND AUTHORITY OF GOD IN BOTH HEAVEN AND EARTH.  And that, dear reader, is what set the stage for all the differences of value, volume, and vitality of the circumstances surrounding the two draughts of fish.  Let’s examine these issues. 

FISHING – In both incidents, Peter and a number of disciples had fished all night, and in both cases, they had taken nothing.  In the first incident, Jesus borrowed one of Peter’s boats to launch out a short distance from the shore to teach, and in the second, the boat from which they were fishing had not yet come to shore.  The issue of “fishing” must not be lost here.  Remember that Jesus had told His disciples to follow Him and He would make them “fishers of men.”  In both incidents of draughts of fish, the imagery is pointing to that very calling.  Under the Old Covenant, the range of fishing was limited to the people of Israel.  While outsiders could choose circumcision and come into the faith of Israel thereby, only those born into the house of Israel, and in the days of Jesus, into the nation of Judah, could be considered part of the covenant.  But even with that restriction, it seemed that the Old Covenant was insufficient to hold them, as many of them often followed after strange gods.  Consider this is the light of the first draught of fish in which the net broke, being insufficient to hold all that was caught.  But at the second draught, the net was strong and held all the catch, this being a preview of the New Covenant. 

Manna for Today John 21:1-14; Luke 5:1-7; Matthew 4:19; Mark 1:17