Passage: Luke 5:1-11
Luke records this incident of Jesus teaching the crowds and they are pressing in on him. So he gets into the boat of Simon. Simon and his companions are washing their nets after they are done fishing through the night.
4 And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” 6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. 7 They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.
This is an incredible miracle. The purpose of Luke is not just to show us that Jesus has the power to do these miracles but he is teaching us something about Simon’s encounter with Jesus.
A. The Glory of Jesus
5 And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.”
8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”
Everyone is amazed at what Jesus did. It is an incredible miracle. But Simon has an unexpected response. Simon could have thanked Jesus and rejoiced at the great haul of fish. He could have approached Jesus and asked him to join as a business partner. Jesus points where to fish and Simon throws the net. It’s a winning combination. But Simon has an unusual response.
Simon was near and around Jesus all these days. He had been to the wedding in Canna with Jesus before this miracle. He saw Jesus cleanse the temple and drive out the moneychangers. Jesus has even been to his home. But Simon never encountered Jesus. He never knew or understood who Jesus really was.
He felt good being near Jesus. He felt important. Jesus is gracious, inclusive, non judgmental, kind and even famous. So Simon felt pretty good about himself.
Some of us are around Jesus and near Jesus but never encountered Jesus personally. We do religious duties, come to church, be nice to people, read bible when we have time. Being near Jesus makes us feel good on the inside. We are happy that we are helping others. But some of us have never encountered Jesus. When someone says they tried church and it really didn’t work out for them, they have never encountered the real Jesus.
When Peter sees Jesus for who he is, he runs and shouts, “depart from me for I am a sinful man”. This is strong language coming out of deep realization of who Jesus is. When he sees the glory of Jesus, he is left undone. He realizes how sinful, wretched and unworthy he is.
Peter encountered the glory of Jesus. He is not just another man, teacher, guru or prophet. He is the king of glory.
Does the Jesus you know is warm, nice and fuzzy? If the Jesus you know does not challenge, confront and expose you, then you have not met the real Jesus. Before the glory of Jesus, I am left undone. We wrestle and struggle with our inability and powerlessness to obey and match God’s righteous standards. Our thoughts, actions, attitudes and words are exposed and we realize how unholy and sinful we are.
B. The Grace of Jesus
Jesus does not leave Peter undone. He does not say, “Yes you are sinful, get away from me.” Or say, “Go clean yourself and do these things to make yourself worthy or obey these rules”. But instead Jesus tells Simon,
10 And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid;
When we encounter the glory of Jesus, we are undone. When we encounter the grace of Jesus, we are unafraid. We don’t have to be afraid of our sin, guilt, future, death, life, failure and people. How is this possible? It is because of what Jesus did on the cross for us.
If salvation and forgiveness of my sin is up to you, and you have to prove your own worth, then you have to be afraid. How much is enough and how long does it take to prove ourselves? It is ever enough? Should we do more? Every time you sin, you will be afraid of losing your salvation. How can you atone for all your sins? What can you pay God?
Jesus says do not be afraid, I have paid for your sins on the cross. Jesus has done something perfect for us through his life, death and resurrection.
It is when you are undone, you begin to see your need for Jesus and what he has done. Though you are wretched yet you are loved and cherished. Though you are sinful yet you are accepted. Though you are broken yet you are made new.
The grace of Jesus makes us unafraid
C. How does this change me?
John 21 has a similar incident at the end of Jesus’ earthly life.
The difference between Luke 5 and John 21 is that in the earlier incident, Peter runs away from Jesus while John 21 he runs toward Jesus. What changed between Luke 5 and John 21 in that 3 years of being with Jesus?
Simon saw Jesus as his Savior. He understood the gospel and it is active in his heart. He realized that he couldn’t do anything without Jesus. His sin drives him to Jesus and not away from Jesus.
A person who is near and around Jesus, who has a religious view of Jesus will move away when they are hurting, disappointed, encounter failures or suffering. They will stop coming to church, avoid fellowship and resent God. But the one who understands the grace of Jesus, sin drives them to Jesus. Failures and disappointments drive them to Jesus.
Don’t just be near or around Jesus. Be in Jesus, in Christ.
What kind of a person are you today? Does sin drive you to Jesus or completely block you from fellowshipping with Jesus?