Have you ever felt that way in your faith? Whether it’s a past sin that you can’t get out of your memory or something you recently did that causes shame, do you ever feel like you’re too sinful to be in the presence of Christ? If so, you’re in good company.
In Luke 5:1-11, Peter and his partners had been fishing all night and caught nothing. Jesus not only steps onto the scene, but He also steps into their boat. Jesus tells them to let their nets down again. Remember, He’s talking to professional fishermen.
Peter says, “We’ve been fishing all night, but if You say so, we will.” They cast their nets again and caught so many fish their nets began to tear, and their boats were on the verge of sinking.
Peter knew this wasn’t a fluke or a lucky cast. He knew this was nothing short of Divine. When he realized what had happened, Peter looked at Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man.”
Upon hearing Peter’s confession, what did Jesus do? I love His response. It’s so encouraging for me, and I hope it is for you too. Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” After hearing that, they left everything and followed Jesus.
A couple of things stand out to me in this story. First, Jesus didn’t correct Peter. “Don’t be so hard on yourself, Peter. You’re not THAT bad.” Jesus didn’t address that at all. He just said, “Don’t be afraid. From now on you’ll be fishing for people!”
In other words, “Yes, you’re sinful, Peter. But God uses sinful people to be a part of His salvation plan.” When Jesus forgives us and calls us to follow Him, He not only knows all the sins we did commit, but all the ones we will ever commit, and He still calls us to follow Him.
Yes, Jesus wants to deal with our sin problem and empower us to overcome sin, but our sin doesn’t stop Him from choosing us.
Second, I think Jesus was willing to use Peter because Peter was willing to acknowledge his sin. When we refuse to acknowledge our own sin, we actually can eliminate ourselves from God’s purpose for our lives. If Peter would have boasted about how great he was, I’m not sure Jesus would have responded in the same way.
Third, when they followed Jesus, they were declaring: “We’re not worthy of anything, but He gives me everything. He is worthy of everything, but I have nothing worthy to give. Nothing I have is enough, so I give my whole life”.
God uses sinful people to be a part of His plan of salvation. We are most available to be used by God when we acknowledge our own sin against God. He’s worthy of everything, so I give Him the only thing I have…me!