This post is part of a 9-part series called Extraordinary Pastor, Ordinary Follower of Jesus. You can watch the introduction video here.
Part 6 – Jesus Requires Humility and Confession
But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” 9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon – Luke 5:8-10a
This passage gives hope to us all. Jesus doesn’t require superstars, expert theologians, geniuses, or people who have it all together. Just people who are willing to start from a place of humility.
Imagine if this was you who had just filled two boats with fish. You hit the lottery. Imagine the range of potential reactions from Peter. He could have had a greedy reaction. A person with Jesus’ knowledge of where to find fish could be very rich. He could have had a prideful reaction and beat his chest and celebrated with his friends. He could have had a business reaction. He could have tried to harness it, market it, and build a movement out of it.
Peter’s Unusual Reaction
- He fell to his knees. Picture Peter trying to push aside all the fish on the floor of the boat to get to his knees. He knew instantly that he was in the presence of holiness and falling to his knees was the only appropriate response. How do you respond when God blesses you?
- He confessed his sin. He saw the grace of Jesus and felt utterly unworthy to receive it. He said, “depart from me I am a sinful man. Peter shows us that humility is the starting place of true change. This is also an example of a “theophany” a tangible manifestation of God. Isaiah 6:5 is an old testament example. A theophany is often accompanied by the phrase that Peter uses here, “depart from me.” Because when you are in the presence of God, there is a general sense of unworthiness. Peter had previously addressed Jesus as “master” but here he calls him, “Lord.” There was a shift in Peter’s thinking as he began to realize the truth about who Jesus was.
- He was seized by fear and amazement. Which people should feel in the presence of the divine And far from disqualifying Him, his reaction was actually a pre-requisite for a life of service.
Peter’s encounter with Jesus started with humility and a confession of sin. So should ours. But often we don’t. Sin has become a dirty word. Why we don’t confess our sins to God?
Different strategies of dealing with your sin.
- Comparison strategy. “There are people far worse than me. Look at Hitler! I’m not that bad of a sinner compared to the jerks I know.” This strategy allows you to focus on the more spectacular sinners that you have seen.
- Re-create God strategy. This is where, instead of investigating the actual facts about who God is and the way he has revealed himself to us, you simply make up your own version of God. “My God is a loving God who doesn’t judge. My God doesn’t care about sin, he’s only worried about affirmation and acceptance.”
- Blame Strategy. The final strategy is just to blame others for your sin. People will say things like, “You’d sin too if you had the boss I have, husband I have, if you grew up in the neighborhood I did, if you had experienced the trauma that I have…”
In the next post we’ll look at the proper way to deal with sin.
← Part 5 | Part 7 (Coming Next Week) →