“Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” The anguished cry tore from Peter’s lips as he fell to his knees before Jesus. His partners looked on in silence, equally stunned. All still remembered the harsh night out on the Lake with not even a single nibble. Now, after obeying the Teacher’s command to launch out one more time, the nets were breaking with an earth shattering catch. Peter didn’t understand what had happened. But he did know he had just experienced something that superseded the laws of nature. Looking into Jesus’ eyes, a certainty of the divine washed over him. Suddenly, he was painfully aware of his unworthiness. Convicted, he knelt. And he prayed.
Gently, Jesus urged him not to be afraid. “From now on, you will catch men,” he said. That was all Peter needed to hear. From that moment, he forsook all and followed the Master. Peter’s journey with Jesus had plenty of highs and lows still to come, but a common theme underscores all his adventures – Peter acted with heart. Sometimes described as impulsive or impetuous, Peter was known to jump first and ask questions later.
It’s interesting to note that Peter’s partners all had the same reaction to the record breaking catch, yet none directly reacted to Jesus immediately. James and John ultimately became disciples as well, but they really were skating on Peter’s momentum at that point.
Jesus may not physically be walking among us today, but He is still very much present in our day to day. The question is do we recognize His presence? And if we do, how do we react? A popular contemporary Christian song contains the lyrics ‘help us become more aware of your presence.’ This suggests that we are now so bogged down with our physical reality that our connection to the divine is weak or non-existent. If Jesus was standing right in front of me today, I wonder if I’d recognize Him.
Lord, this week and always, give us the grace to tune in to the spiritual reality around us. Open our eyes to see you, and having done so, help us to reach out and touch. We need to hear your voice and go deeper in. Show us how, in Jesus Name. Amen.