Luke 5:7-11

So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him. Luke 5:7-11

Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” This is certainly not the response that we would expect to see. Everybody else – the crowds who followed Jesus to the shore, heard what he had to say, saw the miraculous catch of fish – ate it all up and wanted more. But Simon Peter was driven to his repentant knees.

But Simon Peter didn’t get what he asked for.

Jesus didn’t “go away” from Simon Peter. Jesus called him to follow him with the promise that his future would include influencing the lives of people, inviting them, as would Jesus, to new life in the kingdom of God.

As we continue our lives in the aftermath of the tragic events of these past days, months, even years, who will we be?

Will we continue to march with the crowd who wants what they want when they want it? The crowds clamoring for a free lunch, instant healing, and an inherited seat at the head table? The crowds who saw the good that came from Jesus but were blind to the reality of who and what he was?

Because here is the path those crowds would take – as soon as they realized that Jesus wouldn’t do for THEM what they thought he would do, how they thought he ought to do it – it was THEIR voices that cried for his crucifixion.

But Simon Peter’s reaction was different. He fell to his knees in repentance. This would not be the last time he would do so. Simon Peter was a guy like the rest of us. Today, he ought to be our model.

The path to following Jesus begins in submission. We receive the water of baptism. The new identity as a child of God is given to us. The path to following Jesus begins on our knees.

As I continue to listen to the voices now processing the events of this week, I continue to hear voices filled with resentment, voices committed to following conspiracy theories and lies, voices that continue to spin and manipulate and engage in the constant “whataboutism” that has plagued us for years.

But what I want to hear is this: I was wrong.

That is what repentance sounds like.

But Jesus wants far more both FOR us and FROM us than our own recognition of having been both deceived and complicit. There is a time to fall to our knees but we can’t follow from there. We have to get up. We have to get on board with Jesus’ agenda if we hope to realize the vison of new life that Jesus holds before us.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, we confess that we have sinned and fallen short of your glory. We confess that we are sinful, broken, both in what we do and what we fail to do. Take away our fear. Call us from our knees with a fresh resolve to follow your path of faith, of hope, of love, of justice, of mercy, of peace, of being the people you have created us to be. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


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