“Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.” – Mark Twain
I’ve been thinking about Luke 5:1-11 for some time now. Jesus has finished teaching and decides to bless Simon, the owner of the boat He’s been using as a platform. Simon puts up a bit of an argument with the Lord but obeys in the end (Simon argues and finally obeys. This is not my point, but it does sound a bit like me!). The result is a tremendous catch of fish that almost swamps his boat – and this after a night in which Simon and his buddies caught nothing.
It is Peter’s response to this is tremendous catch of fish that I find disturbing. “Oh, Lord, please leave me – I’m too much of a sinner to be around you” (NLT). At first, I thought Peter said this because he had never been around a miracle or the power of God before, but this is not true. In Luke 4 Jesus healed Simon’s mother-in-law, and prior to that, Jesus cast a demon out of a man, and Simon was more than likely a witness to that miracle, too. Simon was accustomed to seeing the power of God, but still I wondered, Why did Simon react so strangely when God’s power was focused upon him?
I believe the answer is in Peter’s response: “I’m too much of a sinner to be around you.” When the power of God is pointed at our neighbor, or even our mother-in-law, we don’t have to react or deal with the results – we just observe. But when God’s power comes into our lives – and in Peter’s case, his business – then we must make a decision: Am I going to continue to allow this power to remain, or am I going to send it away, because if the power stays, then there is no more room for myself.