February 6

Luke 5:6-11

“But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!’…Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.’” vss. 8, 10b

As Luke tells the story, when Simon saw the magnificent catch of fish, he recognized that he was in the presence of holiness, and, like Isaiah, felt an immediate and overwhelming sense of unworthiness. Evidently he was a product of his culture which made a rigid distinction between the righteous and sinners. In those days there wasn’t any doubt about where a person stood–either you were in or out. And Simon just didn’t measure up. He was a sinner! Now that doesn’t mean he was morally bankrupt or corrupt–he just didn’t measure up to the strict purity code required by the law. And he wasn’t alone. Countless people within Judaism were classified as sinners–and the righteous took care to separate themselves from them to avoid contamination, which is why Simon warned Jesus to go away! What’s really interesting here is that Jesus could care less–in fact he made Simon the first of his disciples and told him that he had work for him to do. Think of it! Jesus could have chosen any number of righteous folks as disciples, but he didn’t. He loved sinners–and they became his chosen missionary force. Oh what a friend we have in Jesus–he loves sinners, and he’s crazy about us! (Provided we don’t get all righteous on him!)

Thought for the Day: Why are righteous folks kind of off-putting?

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