“…And Jesus said unto Simon, FEAR NOT; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.” ~ Luke 5:10b
FEAR NOT: Be Available
When Simon Peter saw the huge catch of fish, he suddenly recognized Jesus’ true authority and holiness. And, looking at Jesus, he saw his own sins staring back at him like a reflection in a mirror.
How could The Holy One countenance such abject sinfulness? So Peter said the only thing that made sense to him: “…he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord'” (Luke 5:8b). Simon Peter was afraid to be in the presence of Jesus, because of his sin.
Today we often seem to be less aware of God’s holiness and our own sinfulness/unworthiness. However, Peter’s response was not uncommon. Fear was a typical response for a man/woman confronted with their own sin in God’s Holy presence. Consider Isaiah’s similar response in Isaiah chapter 6:
“Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” ~ Isaiah 6:5
Jesus, however, did not ‘depart from Peter’. Rather, Jesus commissioned Peter to be a missionary. Clearly, Jesus was concerned about Peter’s sinfulness, and is concerned about our sinfulness; that’s why He died on the cross!!! But sinfulness is not a disqualifier in Jesus’ Kingdom. Or, said another way, sinlessness is not what qualifies a man for service in The Kingdom of God. Why? Because, if it was, we would all be disqualified. Who could pass that test?
Instead of unattainable sinlessness, Jesus was looking for other (much more achievable) qualities: Availability AND Obedience.
When Jesus selected His fishermen disciples (as recounted in Luke 5:1-11, from which our text is taken) Simon Peter demonstrated the qualities that qualify us for service in God’s kingdom:
FIRST, when Jesus needed a boat from which to preach, Peter’s boat was AVAILABLE (Luke 5:3). Likewise, Jesus wants to use the very things He blesses us with for ministry, but we don’t make them available.
When the missionaries visit your church, will our cars be available to take them around? Will our houses be available for them to stay? When our churches needs a home to host community Bible studies, are our homes available? When there is a sick member of the church do we make the time to visit? Are we AVAILABLE? Simon Peter was.
SECOND, after He had finished preaching, Jesus instructed Simon to “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught” (Luke 5:4). Now, Simon was an experienced fisherman, that was his profession. Also, he and his colleagues (Andrew, James and John) had toiled all night without catching anything (Luke 5:5). As far as Peter was concerned this was a futile task. However, despite his knowledge and experience, Peter OBEYED Jesus’ command.
Often we too will be challenged by Jesus, even just by what is in the Bible. Will we respond in obedience? When Jesus challenges us to give like the widow who gave everything, will we obey Him? Will we even obey the instructions to study God’s Word (e.g., 2 Timothy 2:15)? Will we obey the instructions to love our neighbor, even to love our enemies? Will we obey the instructions to visit the sick, to help the poor, to visit those in prison?
We can always find/concoct reasonable rational answers why we can’t/shouldn’t. But that is not the point: Jesus never asks us to rely on our reasoning. Jesus wants us to comply to His commands, he wants us to step forward in faith. Will we obey Him? Peter did.
(And his obedience resulted in a huge blessing!!!)
Peter’s availability and obedience meant he was ready to be a soldier in The Kingdom of God. He was useful to Jesus, despite his sinfulness. Jesus would die for those sins and for ours, there was nothing Peter could do to remove the stain of his iniquity.
But while Jesus would remove the obstacle of sin, we (like Peter) must remove ALL/ANY obstacles to availability and obedience so that we too can be qualified to serve in God’s Kingdom.
FEAR NOT, Believer, Jesus did not come to judge (though He will on His return), Jesus came to save!!! FEAR NOT, Jesus will take care of removing/forgiving our sins: He only wants us to be available and obedient.