Links Daily Devotional

The Wonder in Miracles

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” (Luke 5:8, NIV)

Between the fifth verse of Luke 5, which we examined yesterday, and the eighth verse, where we land today, a stunning thing happened. A wonder. A miracle.

Hold onto that realization for a minute or two. When we read of Jesus and his miracles, particularly it we have read them many times before, we can skip right past them, missing the wonder in the middle of the familiarity. Don’t do that. Look.

Peter and his partners set back out into deep water.

They cast their nets as Jesus had instructed.

And while they had fished all night and caught nothing, now their nets became so loaded with fish that the nets began to break.

Now maybe we’ve become too much of a highlight culture to imagine any other response to such an amazement than cheering and high fives. When a tour player holes out a shot for us all to see on live TV, we also get to see the celebration: a whoop, a smile, and happy gestures between player and caddie and playing partners. No one falls to their knees in awe. No one is a Peter.

But just as Peter saw in Jesus the authority of one who must be obeyed, he saw in him the power of one who could do unmatchable things. And to a fisherman, what could be more unmatchable than an overwhelming catch of fish on demand? It set Jesus at such a distance from Peter, that this brash man’s man had all the bluster sucked right out of him.

Peter was not a theologian, and we cannot say how well he knew his Isaiah passages, but he gave us in this moment on the Galilean shore a picture of just what Isaiah experienced in the throne room of God. The splendor of the Lord by itself split a chasm between his person and work and the person and work of men. We are not him and he is not us.

But we must not miss the specific difference that drove Peter to begging for mercy: “Go away from me!” This was the difference between Christ’s holiness and Peter’s sin. When we see the miracles and allow them do to us what they did to Peter, God’s holiness is overwhelming.

And yet there is the fullness of Christ’s gospel, which sees us as separated from God by our sin but reconciled with him by his greatest work, the shedding of his cleansing blood on the cross.

Jesus had words of return for Peter. “Don’t be afraid,” he said, “for you will now fish for men.” And maybe that is the most amazing miracle we will ever face up to—that the Savior of all people not only removes our sins but establishes us as men and women of purpose in his kingdom. Stunning!

Jeff Hopper
November 11, 2015
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