When he had finished speaking, [Jesus] said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken” (Luke 5:3-9).
Dear Peter Bjorn,
One of the hardest lessons for all of us to learn in life that of coming to grips with our own sinfulness and spiritual bankruptcy before God. Even well-meaning Christians often find themselves trying to muster up our own holiness, trying harder to be more spiritual, trying to earn God’s love through good deeds. Pride and self-righteousness easily result, preventing us from experiencing God’s saving grace.
Peter, my son, I pray that you will come to know, as Simon Peter did so early on, how wretchedly sinful and utterly dependent we are on God when we first encounter Him.
In this episode, Simon Peter beholds the power of God at work in Jesus in the miraculous catch of fish and responds rightly by declaring, “I am a sinful man!” He gets the first part slightly wrong, however. Faced with Jesus’ awesome power and holiness, Simon Peter feels unworthy to even be in his presence, and begs Jesus to “Go away from me.”
The good news is that Jesus has come to earth precisely to save us sinners, and He is not about to go away from us and leave us in our sinful state. He comes to us, and lives among us, and calls us to follow him, and as we do we become more and more like him every day.
Dear Peter Bjorn, may you realize early on how sinful you are, and that you stand with tattered rags before a holy God, deserving only wrath. And may you rejoice in the good news that Jesus does not leave us in our wretched state, but grants us pardon from our sins, and loves us to the uttermost — dying on a cross to free us from our sins and to bring us everlasting life.