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Peter’s Jesus-Flinch

August 8, 2011

I brought up the Jesus-flinch a week ago. It’s here if you missed it.

The day after the first Jesus-flinch struck me, I noticed another that really stood out.

Luke 5:8
When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”

Peter knew that Jesus was a Man of some authority, because he steered his boat away from shore when Jesus got in it and asked him to. Peter knew that Jesus was a teacher with some revelation, because he sat in the back of his own boat and listened to Jesus teach the multitude. When Jesus instructed Peter to cast his nets out again, Peter protests a bit, but calls Jesus, “Master.”

But when the chaos of hauling in enough fish to nearly sink their boats was over, Peter knew who Jesus really was, and his spontaneous reaction was, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”

The difference in Peter’s reactions to Jesus is pretty stunning.

Peter welcomed and accommodated and even obeyed Jesus when he thought Jesus was just an anointed teacher or prophet. When Peter had a revelation that Jesus is Lord, he immediately saw the contrast of his own sinfulness to such a degree that he cried out his own unworthiness.

It took Peter a couple hours to go from one to the next. How long did it take me? How many times have I gone backwards?

It made me wonder if our reaction to Jesus isn’t indicative of our understanding of Him. When we understand Him to be a nice guy, a gentle savior, a teacher, even a prophet – and nothing more – we become a people who welcome, accommodate and obey Him. When we come to understand Him as fully God, as the Word made flesh, as the I AM, should our reaction not also change? Should we not become a people who more often humble ourselves before Him and boldly declare His holiness?

Two Jesus-flinches so far, and both seem to react to the power and the authority and the holiness of God. If I’m meeting the same Jesus as demons and disciples in scripture, shouldn’t my reaction be the same?

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