DayBreaks for 3/16/16: Peter’s Strange Request
NOTE: Galen will be traveling for the next 10 days or so. You will be receiving messages from the DayBreaks archive during that time! From the DayBreaks archive, 2006:
Luke 5:1-11 (NLT) – One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper and let down your nets, and you will catch many fish.” “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, we’ll try again.” And this time their nets were so full they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking. When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m too much of a sinner to be around you.” For he was awestruck by the size of their catch, as were the others with him.
Put yourself in the place of Peter. He’d been a fisherman nearly all his life – probably from his childhood. He and his brother, Andrew, appeared to have a successful fishing business. Catching fish was how he made his living – no fish, no money. As with everyone else, Peter had good days and bad days at work. He usually worked the “graveyard” shift because that’s when the fish could be caught. And he’d had a very bad night’s work on this night.
As daylight comes, Jesus is preaching and the boats have returned. Jesus invites his disciples to go fishing again. They do. They fill their nets. You’d think Peter would have been overjoyed – that he would have invited Jesus to join his fishing business, or to at least go fishing with him each day. But no. Peter responds in a way we would not have anticipated. In his book, A Fragile Stone, Michael Card wrote: In response to the miraculous catch, Peter asks for what he really does not want – he asks for Jesus to leave. He has become the frightened fish, thrashing in the net, wanting only to get away, or at least for Jesus to get away from him. Peter has come face to face with the frightening possibility of complete success. Failure, like their earlier empty nets, seems so much safer and predicable.
There is something about the power and glory of the Lord that produced this response in Peter. While we may be tempted to criticize Peter for his request, perhaps we should ask ourselves if we’ve ever come close enough to Jesus to be so in awe of him ourselves? We have probably managed to keep our distance from him so that we don’t have to come face to face with his greatness. If you’d asked Peter if it was worth it to get close enough to Jesus to really see his power and glory, he would have said “Yes!” May we get close enough to Jesus to be able to share that sentiment!
TODAY’S PRAYER: Jesus, we are afraid of closeness. When we’ve gotten close to others, we’ve always been hurt and disappointed sooner or later, and so we have built barriers to keep others at bay. Jesus, help us to drop our barriers and to get close enough to see your glory and power and be transformed by your Presence. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.