Devotional 30: Depart from Me, for I am a Sinful Man…

Luke 5: 1-8

 

5 So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat.

When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”

But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So 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. When Simon Peter saw it,he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”

For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” 11 So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.

 

That night the fish proved smarter than men, for they weren’t where the disciples were fishing in the cold water, all night long.

Tired, discouraged, with nothing to show for their efforts, and feeling like failures in their own calling, they then sit patiently while Jesus teaches the people from the boat, because it’s too crowded on the shore.

We are not told when Jesus finished speaking to the crowd, but now he’s about to reward their patience in spectacular fashion.

But now comes the test not only of faith, but fortitude: Put out into deep water…

   Surely they’re thinking, what does the son of a poor carpenter know of the sea?

But Jesus had never claimed to be the son of a poor carpenter.

“,,,and let down the nets for a catch.” A twofold command.

The large, heavy nets they just finished washing and setting aside, they now have to take back with them, and go into deep water. It took longer to get to the deep water, was more turbulent and prone to currents, and harder to control the boat.

And Peter, who had to listen to Jesus sermon to the people for who knew how long, was now tired, and his answer, like the command, is twofold. He testifies to what they’ve done in their own strength, that they’ve toiled all night and caught nothing, but then he submits to the Lord’s will: “Nevertheless, at Your word, I will let down the net.”

So when Peter hears and obeys the Word of the Lord, the nets are not only filled for one boat, but two.

Peter, James and John are astounded, but it is Peter the passionate who sees and knows this is the Father at work in through the Son.

“Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”

How like the centurion Peter is in this moment. Lord, I am not worthy to receive you under my roof, only say the word…

Peter is speaking from his heart, and while Jesus is concerned with the heats of mankind, He in fact came to redeem the souls back to their Creator.

Evil knows good, and will use it, trick it, and corrupt it if possible.

But evil fears holiness, and can’t abide in its presence.

Our Lord says the world hates Him because He testifies to it that its works are evil, because the prince of this world walks it, and ravages those who would hear and obey the Word of the Lord.

He makes us weary in worldly pursuits, and we testify to the Lord of them: I’ve worked hard all night, all these years, all this time, and have nothing to show for it.”

And it’s there some give up and turn away, while others yet say, “Nevertheless, at Your word, I will…”

Which one will you be?

if the latter, welcome then, to the army of God. Get ready to fight the current in deep water, and by faith our Lord promises there will be no way to prepare for the overflow that will be the honoring of your faith and obedience in Him, the Living Word.

Therefore I pray:

Lord Jesus, I am grateful that it’s I who must obey you, and not the other way around, for I would tell you to depart from this sinful pod of flesh. It would be a foolish request, for then I would die unclean, unjustified, unrighteous, and not reconciled to the Father, and my soul condemned.

I can’t deny the wide road to Babylon is smooth and pleasant, and the city itself, like the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, is pleasing to the eye, and indulges the senses. I cast a disparaging eye to the narrow road to the kingdom of G-d and eternal life, full of bloody thorns of martyrs and saints, with a narrow gate lost in the fog of the hilltop.

But I am grateful that when I say, “Depart from me, Lord, I am a sinful man,” looking toward Babylon with anticipation, and I, not You, move away, You endure the heartbreak again, and watch me go, but wait for me to come back to myself, and return to Your open arms, receiving me again with rejoicing, and walking with me once more.

Thank You for blessing me in the midst of my rebellious obedience that testifies to my own strength first, but ultimately, nevertheless submits to You.

May it ever be so, and in Your Holy Name I ask it.

Amen.

 

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