Peter and his nets

I’ve recently gained new insight from a Bible story I’ve written about before on Sheepfood (Peter and The Leper) and thought I’d write about it.

Have you ever fooled yourself into believing you were being obedient when, in fact, in your heart you were rebellious? I think it probably happens more often than we realize. Plain and simple, we sometimes believe we know better than the Lord. And though we would never say such a thing, by our actions and attitudes it is exactly what we demonstrate. Consider this important lesson Peter learned when he first heard the Lord Jesus speak.

Luke 5:1-11:
     And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon Him to hear the word of God, He stood by the lake of Gennesaret, And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.  And He entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And He sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.
     Now when He had left speaking, He said unto Simon, “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.” And Simon answering said unto Him, “Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.” And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.  And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, 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.” … And Jesus said unto Simon, “Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.” And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed Him.”

In this story Peter is confronted with his own rebellious heart. The Lord told Peter to “let down your nets [plural].” Peter, in a reluctant show of half-hearted obedience, let down his net [singular]. And in an instant as the net “brake” and their ships began to sink with the catch, Peter knew he had sinned grievously in his condescending attempt to humor the Lord Jesus, the very One who created the fish he had failed to catch all night.

So overwhelmed was Peter with what he had done and with the realization of who this Jesus really was, he could do nothing but fall down right then and there at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord …” He recognized himself to be a guilty sinner in the presence of the Holy, sinless Lord and he couldn’t remain on his feet to move himself away. He pleads, “Depart from me.” But the Lord doesn’t depart from him. Instead the Lord Jesus  answers, “Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.” Just think of it. The Holy Lord tells this humbled man upon confession of his sinfulness to, “fear not.” What relief to hear those words from the living God. The Lord Jesus never departs from the repentant sinner. There’s nothing any longer for him to fear. In fact, the Lord changes the sinner to a saint and puts him to work for His own glory! What a Savior!

Let us seek never to fool ourselves that we are obedient because we will obey the Word of God up to some point. Let us seek, rather, in faith and through His strength, to faithfully believe and obey all that He reveals to us in His written Word.

-J. Wilbur


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