“When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men. So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.” (NKJV)
Simon Peter had toiled all night and caught nothing, so when he pulled in an abundant catch after obeying the direction of Jesus, he knew it was nothing but a supernatural miracle. He was so overwhelmed at the way Jesus made this possible that he had no choice but to acknowledge the divinity and Lordship of Jesus. He was suddenly aware of his own uncleanness, and the fact that he was completely undeserving of this generous gift! He knew he was face to face with the true and living God, and was filled with reverence and fear.
It was a belief among the Jews that anyone who saw a manifestation of Yahweh would drop dead. We see this throughout the Old Testament, in situations where people encountered the Lord (often described as the Angel of the Lord) and feared for their lives. Jacob was astonished that his life was spared when he had seen the Lord face to face (Genesis 32:30). The nobles of Israel saw God and yet “ate and drank” (Genesis Exodus 24:11). This belief arose from some of the Old Testament scriptures such as Exodus 33:20: “There shall no man see my face and live”, (Exodus 33:20) and “Who is there of all flesh that has heard the voice of the living God, speaking out of the midst of the fire as we have, and lived?” (Deuteronomy 5:26). So Gideon (in Judges 6) expected to be destroyed, because he had “seen an angel of the Lord”. In general, people had no access into the presence of God, because sinful man could not survive in the presence of a holy God. This is why only the high priest could enter the “holy of holies” in the temple, the inner sanctum, where the presence of God was said to dwell, and that too only after all the rituals of purification had been observed.
However, there is now a new order. Jesus showed Simon Peter (and us today) that there was a way into the power and presence, and all the fruitfulness of living in the Holy place. There was a way to walk under an “open heaven” and see this kind of supernatural miracle on a daily basis. He is the way. The holy presence of God was out of our reach, but Jesus changed that. Hebrews 10:19 & 22 say “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water”.
Peter was cowering in fear that he would die in the presence of Holiness, but he was looking at the Living Way! There is no reason to hide from the presence of God any more. The precious blood of Jesus has opened the door into that most beautiful Holy Place. When Jesus died upon the cross, the veil that separated the inner sanctum from the rest of the temple was torn in two. It was a thick and extensive curtain as good as a strong tent wall, but it was rent in two to signify the fact that now the arms of our Father are open to anyone who wants to come. Because we come through Jesus, the new doorway (John 10:7), we do not have to fear that our own lack of holiness could result in instant death. We are cleansed by His blood, and clothed in His own righteousness to draw near and enjoy Daddy’s best, to feast upon His radiance and His loveliness! Hallelujah!
Friend, Daddy is calling you today into a life filled with His abundance. He is calling you into a season of revelation and renovation. He has provision, power and peace for you which you have not even asked Him for, but it all comes through a life lived in surrender to the Lord and Savior of the world, the One who Peter worshipped, and called ‘Master’. Sin may have brought a wall between yourself and the sweet presence of God, but it can be torn down today, as you call on the name of Jesus, and receive the power of His cleansing blood. You can come into the Holy of Holies and look upon the beauty of His face!
When Peter was filled with fear and asked Jesus to depart from him, Jesus reassured him that he would walk in a life of abundance and fruitfulness. So what can we take from the lessons Simon Peter learnt?
1) Do not be afraid. Fear cripples us and kills faith. We just saw from Hebrews 10 that we can enter God’s presence with “boldness by the blood of Jesus”, and “in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water”. We have an assurance from Jesus Himself that although we may fail Him multiple times, His blood cleanses us and grants us access into the awesome presence of God. Receive this word in faith!
2) From now on you will! We have an assurance that when we walk through life with Jesus, we can believe for the impossible to be possible in our daily lives. God is calling us to have a positive expectation of His power flowing through us to overcome every challenge and adversity. Whatever it is you need to achieve, or see happen in your life, know that in the name of Jesus and by the power of His Spirit, you can, and you will!
3) Fishers of men! Peter and his friends were weary and discouraged because they had tried all night in familiar waters and caught nothing. Jesus gave them a huge catch of fish but said to them that they would now be “fishers of men”. The dearest thing on the heart of God is the salvation of the people of the earth, and He longs for His kids to receive His vision and begin to bring people into His family. When we make this our priority, and work with Him, He enables us to be effective fishers of men, and also ensures our boat is filled with fish. When God calls His kids into service, He meets their every need.
4) Peter and His friends had to follow whole-heartedly. (They “forsook all”). They made Jesus and His calling the top priority, and their reason and purpose for living. They did not put their hand to the plow and look back. They did not have one foot in the ministry and one foot in the world. They stepped forward with both feet, and in faith, into the life Jesus called them to. It was a life of power and purpose, a life of great fruitfulness and reward. Hallelujah!
Friend, even as Peter fell to his knees and acknowledged Jesus as “Master” and “Lord”, God is calling us into a life of wholehearted yieldedness to the King of kings. He has such awesome plans for you and me, and He is seeking our willing obedience, absolute commitment, and faith. Your days of toiling without results are over! As you step into what Daddy has for you, expect to see great things. Expect to see a harvest of souls! Expect to see the power of God exploding wherever you go!
May the power of the Holy Spirit be your portion. May you walk in the sweet presence of God, in Jesus’ name, Amen!
Minoli Haththotuwa, 26 September 2011