>”And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. 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. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.'”
Many of us remember this particular short story. This is a segment of the occasion where Jesus tells Peter to go back out and drop his nets, even though Peter insists that they have fished all night with no results. Peter agrees and ends up almost taking down two boats because the amount of fish was so great.
This story is an amazing witness to Jesus’ command over nature. It magnifies His divine nature. What I find to be so interesting is actually Peter’s response to the miracle. Notice that Peter does not say: “Wow Jesus, you’re amazing!” Instead, he tells Jesus to get away from him because he is a “sinful man.”
A striking truth rises to the surface from this story. This truth being that the glory of God reveals the pitiful state of humans. In Psalm 8:3-4, after the psalmist gazes at the magnitude of God’s creation in the heavens, he is astounded at how God would even be “mindful” of mankind. God is so awesome, as His creation reveals. And against that background, mankind is so insignificant.
Yet, we make so much of ourselves don’t we? We glory in our technologies, our intellect, our possessions, our empires, our wealth. But we don’t glory in God, we don’t delight in our Maker. Read again the verse I have listed at the top of this blog. Paul is saying that his desire is that his readers would have “ample cause” to “glory in Christ Jesus.”
Look back up at this verse from Luke 5 and ask yourself a question: did Jesus come to do miracles? If so, what were His miracles for? The answer comes just a few verses later in Luke 5:24. Jesus explains that He is healing the paralytic so that those around may know that He has the authority to forgive sins. That’s why He does miracles! So that all may know that He can forgive sins!
In light of that, Peter’s response to Jesus’ miracle is rather appropriate. When Christ completes His miracle, Peter is ruined by how sinful He is compared to Christ’s holiness. Now Peter’s heart is softened and Jesus can speak forgiveness and peace to Him.
Brothers and sisters, I pray that the miracles of Jesus would continue. I know that Christ uses miracles to bring sinners like Peter (and the rest of us) to repentance and faith in Him. I pray that the church would walk in Christ’s power to heal the sick and cast out demons. However, I also pray that those miracles would not be our focal point. Above all we must proclaim the Gospel in such a way that sinners may come to Christ truly. If our end is not to glorify Christ and His cross, then the means we use are pointless before we even start.
May God grant us power, through His Spirit, to spread the heart-, mind-, and soul-changing Gospel of truth!