by: Tyler Gordon
Read Luke 5:1-11
On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3 Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon's, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 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. 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.” 9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.
When Peter witnesses firsthand the power of Jesus and recognizes His holy nature, he exclaims, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord" (v. 8). What can we learn from Peter's experience of Jesus? We observe that "...a sense of God's presence abases man and makes him feel his sinfulness" (JC Ryle). When a person first grasps the holy character of God, their first reaction is to hide themselves from the presence of the Lord. When Adam sinned, he attempted to hide from God's presence. When Israel was confronted by the glory of God on Mt. Sinai, they were in awe of God and asked that God no longer speak to them directly but speak to Moses on their behalf. "The sight of divine greatness and holiness makes a person feel strongly his own littleness and sinfulness" (JC Ryle). Exposure to the greatness and holiness of God is terrifying to the sinner, but such encounters affect the saints differently. Believers see more clearly their sinfulness and their need for a Mediator between God and man. On account of this, their hearts overflow with thanksgiving for the Lord Jesus Christ who is their perfect Mediator. Thus, rather than hiding from the presence of the Lord, believers are able to draw near to the throne of grace with confidence and boldness. In fact, the greatness and holiness of God are attractive to the believer; they desire more of God's presence.
Brothers and sisters, that is my desire and prayer for you all, that you see the greatness and holiness of God, see your own sin and sinfulness, see your great need for Christ, and thereby have an ever increasing love for Christ and trust in His sufficiency to save you from your sins and present you righteous before God. May the word of God have this good effect upon each of our souls.