By Rev. Eric Brown
“Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” Luke 5:8
Why was Peter so down and dour? He had just seen a miraculous catch of fish, one that broke nets. Shouldn't he be jumping up and down with joy? And yet, there Peter is, on his knees before Jesus, asking Jesus to just get up and go somewhere else. Why?
At that moment Peter is not seeing primarily a loving God who gives great gifts. At that moment Peter is thinking of his own sin and lack. This is somewhat understandable. An entire night of his hard toil had gotten nothing; his works had been shown to be useless and in vain. Then there comes Jesus, and after preaching and teaching for a while, Jesus instructs Peter to go after fish at the absolute wrong time of day, when there would be no fish around. Everyone would know that what Jesus was instructing was utter folly – and yet, there's the ginormous catch of fish. And at that moment Peter's not seeing the greatness of God, Peter's own futility and arrogance come crashing in upon him. I kneel here before this Man, who gave this catch after I told Him it was foolish. He is now going to rip into me and let me have it!
Not quite. Instead Jesus says, “Do not be afraid.” Then He tells Peter he'll be catching men, he'll be a disciple. But did you see how that worked? Sin and the fear that comes with it utterly warped how Peter viewed Jesus, viewed the blessings in his life. Peter, because of his sin, figured they were curses. But against that, Jesus tells Peter not to fear, for Jesus is there for Peter's good.
As for us today, our own sinful flesh will constantly try to make us afraid of God. Our flesh will try to twist blessing after blessing into a sign of curse. Yet, even today, Christ Jesus speaks to us great words of love. Do not be afraid. Peace be with you. I forgive you. Jesus knows how your sinful flesh messes with you – that is why He catches you with His Word of forgiveness, and proclaims this forgiveness to you again and again. This is His great love for you.
Rev. Eric Brown is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Herscher, Illinois and the co-host of the HT Gospeled Boldly Podcast.
Created: July 11th, 2017