This May Be The Most Important Line in Luke's Gospel
I would like you to imagine Simon who will later be called Peter. He is probably somewhat crude, maybe vulgar at times because he is a hardened fisherman. He might be a conversation of the latest coming out of the local governor’s office that would be Pontius Pilate. Maybe he would complain about things going on in the town, celebrate the latest offering of beer in the town tavern and more. However, when it came to fishing, he would know his stuff to the letter.
If he said this would be a good day for fishing you can take that statement to the bank. If he told you you were repairing your nets incorrectly, you better listen to him, he knew what he was doing. He might have gotten into a few fights maybe even punched a guy who insulted him and his knowledge of fishing. We don’t know but let us run with this for a minute.
Finally, Jesus shows up and tells him to cast his next to the side of the boat. He knows that is a futile move. He knows fish better than anyone and if he says there are no fish there, there are none. So he pushes back, it is not going to work, he will catch nothing. However, when he throws the net out anyway just to prove that he is right, he catches more fish than he caught in the previous weeks combined. It comes close to six hundred pounds of fish.
He then realizes he is in the presence of a divine figure. He immediately says—Leave me Lord for I am a sinful man.
Here is a question I want to ask you, why does Jesus come to Peter?
We know that he was a sinner and he admits it. We know now that he was brash and impulsive, maybe even a bit narcissistic. We know a lot of him now. We need to ask again why did Jesus call him. It, obviously, was not his reputation for holiness. In fact, we know later that Jesus seeks out the sinners and not the piously holy, so Peter clearly was not known for being a holy man. He may have been prayerful and somewhat religious but holy, no way. So why did Jesus reach out to Him?
It could be that he was what is known as real. Simon was who he was and made no pretensions about it. Simon was who he was no more and no less.
When you met Simon you met exactly who Simon claimed to be. That may be also the key. Simon acknowledges immediately that he is a sinner. Jesus leads him to be a totally different person whose words we can read in 1 and 2 Peter.
This is precisely what Jesus does, he meets people where they are and brings them forth to where he is calling them to be.
The more honest we are with Jesus the more he can draw us to Him.
The key is to be real.
Today we are living in a unique time. We are hearing of rules being enforced that many think is strange. However, why is this happening? People are pushing rules that are void of any human connection. So when the policy comes out it sounds like it was created by a robotic form of artificial intelligence. It is clear that the people who made the policy are far removed from real people struggling through life every day.
Jesus does the exact opposite. He reaches out on a personal level and a human level to others so that he could embrace their humanity and their truth and lead them to the fullness of what Jesus calls us at our baptism.
What is going wrong in our society today? We lost humanity and embraced a public policy void of humanity. Before you decide to bring down your wrath on a government agency or even the church for doing any of this, maybe it is best to stop and look at the bigger picture. These policies may be correct on paper and theologically or scientifically, are promulgated in a way that is void of humanity.
Jesus brings all that is God even the law of God right into the human level and incarnates it and embodies it.
He gives us an example of how to live the Gospel and completes a miracle to prove he is who he says he is.
You and I have a call to be who Christ calls us to be. He does not want us to be who we aren’t the religious community of his day and ours are filled with those people, he wants us to be who we are and allow Christ to transform this.
I think what is going on in our church is God is starting to break the walls of pretension. Jesus is calling all of us baptized to encounter him where we are and he will lead us to where he wants us to be. We can only do that if we are real with Him and others. The people who cite canon laws in some of these online forums for example without a shred of concern for the humanity of the people are as far from Jesus as they are from the people.
We are here to embody Jesus Christ and we can only do that if we allow him to embrace us as we are and to lead us where he wants us to be. If we try to be who we are not, we are not fooling Him but only ourselves.
This week brings to prayer the desire to allow Christ to meet you where you are and ask him to lead you to where he is calling you to be not where you think he wants you.