What Does Luke 5:8 Mean?

But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus' feet, saying, "Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!"

Luke 5:8(NASB)
Picture courtesy of James Tissot - Public Domain

Verse Thoughts

Peter and the other disciples had been witness to certain signs and wonders, which we discover were designed to authenticate Christ's claims to be the anointed Messiah of Israel, for all that He said and all that He did was foretold by the prophets of old. We read of His power over unclean spirits and demons, which caused His fame to spread far and wide.. and Peter himself was witness to many such healing and miracles. Peter had seen his own mother-in-law brought back to health and strength by the healing touch of the Lord Jesus and he no doubt tasted the water that was changed to wine and heard the many of the gracious words that fell from the lips of this simple carpenter from Nazareth.

It must have been an exciting hiatus in the humdrum life of simple fisher-folk like Peter.. to be called to follow after this popular teacher.. Who astonished the crowds with His wonderful works, amazing miracles and the gracious words that He spoke. And for Peter to be chosen as one of His inner circle of friends, must have been quite a boost to his fleshly ego!!

And so we read that on a certain day, having climbed into one of the fishing boats to teach the great multitudes who were thronging along the shore to hear Him speak.. in the hopes of catching a glimpse of more miracles, Jesus told the fishermen to launch out into the deep waters.. and let down their nets for a catch of fish. Peter must have smiled inwardly. He was a well-weathered fisherman who knew that this was not the time of day when fish would be netted. Indeed they had toiled all night and caught nothing. But no doubt to humour the Master, Peter agreed to cast his nets into the water.

But what happened next not only cause him and the others to be utterly astonished by the huge quantities of fish that were caught, but the inner core of his being was wrenched apart, as it must have dawned on him, WHO was in the boat with him - for when Simon Peter saw Christ's supernatural power over nature, he fell prostrate at Christ's feet, and said, 'Go away from me.. depart from me Lord - for I am a sinful man!'

When an egotistical man or prideful woman is convicted of their sinful self-life, it is shocking to the core. And through this great draft of fishes, Peter was permitted to become acutely aware of his own sinfulness and his desperate need of a Saviour.

The old sin nature in Peter had to learn to die to self, to take up his own cross and to follow Christ. Even though Peter would later be prompted by the Holy Spirit to acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, it took many more years for him to come to the point where he discovered that Christ was all in all - and he was nothing.

The Lord took time to teach and train this lovable fisherman that he was to be nothing.. but that Christ is to be everything. Peter came to understand that despite his own cleverness and skill the Lord Jesus alone must become the central focus of his heart and life. Peter was to learn that old life which stands guilty and condemned before God must remain nailed to the cross.. so that the life of the Lord Jesus is able to conform us into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ Himself - with every passing day.

It probably took Peter many years to learn that Christ is all in all and that His divine power has given us all that pertains to life and godliness.. for this come through a knowledge of Him Who has called us by His glory and virtue out of darkness into His glorious light - as we grow in grace and in a knowledge of our Lord and Saviour.

May we come to a fuller understanding that forgiveness of sins is dealt with by the blood of Christ, but that our old sinful self is dealt with by the cross - as we die to self daily and life for Him. For although the shed blood of Christ procures our pardon from sin - it is the cross that procures our deliverance from the power of sin in our lives. May we learn to die to self daily.. so that we may live to Christ for His greater glory and for our eternal benefit.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the truths that are written in Your Word and for the many lessons that they teach us. May I set all that I am and all that I have aside so that Christ will become an increasing reality in my life - until I am nothing and HE is everything - to Whom be all praise and glory and in Whose name I pray, AMEN.

Picture courtesy of James Tissot - Public Domain

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