|I took this on the Sea of Galilee (July 2010)|
The most incredible story is found in Luke 5:1-11. Jesus chose Peter to be his disciple, and Peter left his fishing business and followed him.
But here’s what precipitated that, at least in part, in my opinion. First, a bit of context. Jesus spoke to a crowd along the Sea of Galilee. He got into Peter’s boat and taught from it, pulling it a bit off shore.
But when Jesus finished teaching, he told Peter to go and fish again. We then learn that Peter and the other fisherman had fished all night and hadn’t caught anything. Still, Peter decides to do as Jesus says. He’s certainly intrigued by Jesus. His own mother-in-law had been healed by Jesus of a high fever Just days before. There’s something incredible about this man, and Peter seems to get that.
So out Peter goes on his boat, despite having caught nothing that night.
Well, suddenly the fish begin filling the nets. It is incredible. Peter signaled other fishermen to help him tow the nets to shore, fearing his nets would break.
Now what do think Peter might say to Jesus after this happened?
“Where did you learn so much about fishing?”
“Did you know this would happen?”
“Wow. Thank you very, very much.”
Well, you might think that. But He said nothing like that.
He said, “Go away from me, Lord. I am a sinful man!”
Now I am curious? Is that what you say to Jesus when he turns to you, giving you his love, choosing you, speaking to you by his Spirit? I hope so, at least from time to time. That would be normal, I’d think. Who of us, when he is truly sober and in his right mind, thinks he is entitled to God’s favor, namely his Grace and Mercy?
Jesus said He didn’t come for those who need a physician. He came for the sick, the lost, the least, the lonely.
My goodness, the utter miracle of being a Jesus follower, which in a moment standing among flopping flish Peter seemed to get, is that Jesus keeps choosing us, over and over again, in spite of our sinfulness, in spite of us repeatedly blowing it, in spite of us knowing we really have little to give, in spite of knowing our very broken family system and in spite of knowing all our annoying ways.
Bottom line, he chooses us in spite of ourselves.
When we realize that, and willingly accept his grace, the only thing we can do is kneel down right in the middle of our huge catch of fish, with the smell of fish everywhere and the fish flopping all around us and say, “Go away from Lord. I am a sinful man!”
Friends, this ain’t about deserving God’s love and God’s favor. It is sheer grace or it is nothing at all!