Thursday, August 2, 2012
Jesus Uses Sinners
Luke 5:1-11 (ESV)
On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret,  and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets.  Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon's, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat.  And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch."  And Simon answered, "Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets."  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."  For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken,  and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men."  And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.
“Depart from me for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” Here is a man who knows who he is, a sinful man. He doesn’t belong in the presence of God. He knows it. This is the reaction of most people to the presence of God where it makes its majesty manifest.
I imagine it makes the gong clang a bit for most of American Christianity today though. Too many people aren’t willing to admit sin. People today are more afraid of confessing sin than they are of sinning. Somehow I get the impression with people that they think as long as they don’t confess it they aren’t guilty of it. Not too long ago I was commenting on some reformed guys post. I said I have a hard enough time keeping the ten commandments, when I get those down may be I’ll be interested in adding a few more rules to keep, like not cussing…. At this comment, they unanimously decided since I had admitted sin, I was no longer worth listening too. They said as much. This is our climate. This is where people are at. This is not the attitude of faith. This is a self deception that proves the truth is not in you. Peter knows who he is, he confesses it. Today people think that God owes them, they demand of him to be in their presence. It’s rather strange. Can they not smell the stench of their own toilette farts? Can they not hear them echo off the porcelain and reverberate through the house? Has the chanting of positive thinking mantras so drowned out such loud and obnoxious announcements of sin, that they are so oblivious?
Today Peter would be told by many that he is of weak faith. That he just doesn’t have it. We think we need to put up false fronts, put up a cocky exterior, and God will reward us for our efforts. Yes we are that delusional. Not Peter. He knows who he is. He is a sinner, a sinful man. Peter, he has lusted after other men’s wives. Peter has murdered. Peter has turned his back on friends. Peter has rashly lashed out to injure others. But he admits he is a sinner. And upon his admission Jesus lets him into his kingdom. Jesus so forgives the man that he says now you will be catching men. Yes, Jesus doesn’t wait for us to be perfect before he sets us to work for him. Jesus takes sinners. He doesn’t look down on them the way only another sinner could, no, he lifts them up and incorporates them into his kingdom. In short he forgives them. Yes Jesus forgives sinners like you. Yes he uses sinners like you to further his kingdom.