What I read: Luke 5
Observations: Peter’s response to Jesus in verse 8 stands out to me. It strikes me as incredibly honest. Here you have a man who, by all accounts is later known as the leader of the Jesus movement, and his first real interaction with Jesus is one in which he proclaims his sinfulness and asks for Jesus to leave him alone because, essentially he’s not worthy to be wherever Jesus is. I find his statement to be true – he’s a sinful man – but the way he applies it is not correct. He assumes Jesus won’t have anything to do with him because he’s sinful. Jesus, in fact, wants to have everything to do with him in part BECAUSE he is sinful. He makes this clear later when he is hanging out with Levi’s friends who are all sinners as well, and Jesus tells the religious leaders that he has come precisely for people like that – to call the sinners to repentance, to bring healing to the sick.
Application: Often my first response when I know that I’ve done something wrong is to run from Jesus, to try to hide it, to actually act as if somehow he hasn’t seen it or known it. In so doing it seems my real motivation is to somehow protect this image of myself that I can cultivate even on my own – the image of a person who isn’t sinful. But as I was reading today I was reminded that, ultimately, it is my sin that keeps driving me back towards Jesus. I am a sinful man, but that doesn’t mean I need to beg Jesus to run away from me, it just means that I need him to keep coming towards me, rescuing me again from my sinfulness even today. Drawing me towards himself even today as bits and pieces of my heart keep trying to move me away from him.
Prayer: Jesus, rather than praying like Peter did at first that you would depart from him because he was a sinful man, I instead pray that you would keep moving towards me, redeeming me from my sinfulness and even giving me a purpose and mission within your movement like you did for Peter at his first encounter with you. I don’t want to hide myself from you, but instead I want to run towards you even when I’ve done wrong so that you can keep healing me and keep saving me. I guess I’m saying that I never outgrow my need for you, and I hope that I will never lose sight of that in all the years that I follow you. I need you now more than I ever have, and I long for you to be my joy, my desire, my everything in this world. Make me a fisher of men like you did for Peter – a sinful man fishing for other sinful men. I’d be honored to be in that kind of company, and I hope that you will be pleased with me there.