Jesus had been using Peter’s fishing boat as a pulpit, moored a little way from the shore of Lake Galilee so that he could teach the crowd that had gathered to hear him. After He’d finished speaking He instructed Peter to put out into deeper water and cast his nets.
Despite having fished all night and caught nothing, and despite a lifetime of experience which told him that you don’t fish in the heat of the day, Peter obeyed Jesus command and was astonished to find his nets bursting with so many fish that his and his partners’ boats were in danger of sinking with the weight of the catch.
Why did Peter respond to such a miracle by saying to Jesus, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord”? Perhaps he’d already felt an awareness of his own sinfulness as he’d listened to Jesus’ teaching, or perhaps it was simply the impact of the undeserved grace of God overflowing to him in the miraculous catch of fish.
Peter saw that here was more than a teacher. Here was someone whose very words had authority even over nature. He knew that he was in the presence of someone holy and pure, and beside such a one he felt his own sin and imperfection.
Jesus didn’t depart from Peter as he requested. Instead He said “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will be catching men”. Over the next three years Peter made mistakes and blunders as he followed the Lord, finally even denying he knew Him, when Jesus was arrested and led away to be tried and executed. That must have seemed an unforgivable sin to Peter, but in John 21 we see a repeat of the miraculous catch of fish and the risen Lord Jesus restoring and re-commissioning him beside Lake Galilee.
Over the years there’ve been many times when I’ve failed Jesus, even though I love Him and my heart’s desire is to please Him. I’ve reacted wrongly to a person or situation, or some hidden darkness in my heart has been exposed and I’ve thought, “How can you use me Lord when I am like this?” We can even hear the whisper of the evil one that Jesus should wash His hands of us, as hopeless cases.
If you find yourself in such a place today, I encourage you to open your heart afresh to the Lord’s restoring mercy and grace and allow Him to pick you up, and set you on your feet again to follow Him.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your mercy and love. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed when I fail You but I always want to run to You to let You restore me again – please help me to do that. In Your name I pray. Amen.
Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship. Provided full acknowledgement is made to Seeds of the Kingdom as the source, you are also welcome to use it in a non-commercial way and reproduce it in magazines or other Christian websites. The copyright for any commercial use of the material remains with Ellel Ministries International.