Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 1 Study # 4
February 11, 2007
8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.
9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:
10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.
11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.
1901 ASV Translation:
8 But Simon Peter, when he saw it, fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.
9 For he was amazed, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken;
10 and so were also James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.
11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left all, and followed him.
- I. Peter's Sinfulness.
- A. The recorded reaction has no "obvious" connection to the miracle.
- 1. The miracle was a fisherman's dream; why would it lead to a significant sense of sinfulness?
- 2. It was not the miracle itself, but the "sinful" setting in which it occurred, that caused Peter's reaction.
- a. The context has Peter responding to Jesus' instruction to go out into the deep and let down the nets with, "Boss, through the whole night laboring, nothing we received...".
- 1) Luke is the only one to use the word I have translated "Boss". He uses it seven times in his gospel and no one uses it anywhere else. Five of the seven times, the context is one of fear or exasperation. It tends to show up when people are operating somewhere below "thoughtfulness" -- they just "say" something. This almost always becomes a genuine indicator of their real thinking because they do not take the time to think about whether they want everyone to know what they are like or not. Luke records the word in John's mouth when he reports that they tried to shut an exorcist down because he was not "one of us". The word was, apparently, coined to indicate "one who stands over", an authority figure of some sort (there are several words that indicate "authority over"). He also has this word in the mouths of ten lepers who want to be cleansed. When they are, nine of the ten are so self-absorbed that they do not return to give thanks. In summary, the word is never used in a "healthy" context.
- 2) The importance of the word in this context is that Simon is still "Simon"; he is still significantly influenced by the "T"heology of the Jews (entrenched legalism with its pervasive "condemnation/self-righteousness" undercurrents very much in play). He is yet living out the "T"heology of Leah who named her second son "Simeon" because of her thinking that Yahweh has "heard" that she is hated and is attempting to do something about it by giving her sons. Yahweh was doing something about it, but not in the way she thought. She thought in terms of buying her husband's love by her ability to produce what he wanted. Yahweh, on the other hand, was simply giving her sons to ease the pain of being unloved. Simon was strongly inclined toward pride (Luke 22:33) and being told "how to fish" by a "preacher" made him a bit "prickly".
- 3) The emphatic "nothing" reinforces this perception of Simon's attitude.
- b. Peter's attitude was barely controlled exasperation, so when Jesus produced so many fish, he was immediately overwhelmed with the natural fear inherent in a "T"heology that has God as a Judge at its central core.
- B. Confronted by his "superiority" delusion, Simon Peter experienced an immediate, and significant "fear".
- 1. Luke, at this point, introduces us to him as Simon Peter.
- 2. He fell upon the knees of Jesus, pleading for Him to "Go away". His sinfulness had suddenly overwhelmed him. This is the only place in the New Testament that the text mentions "knees" that do not belong to the person in action. Most references are to people who bow their knees to pray. A couple of references are to people who bow their knees to acknowledge God as Lord. The picture here is of Jesus still "sitting" in the boat (as He was while He was teaching) with His knees sticking out in front of Him and Peter suddenly falling down with his hands upon Jesus' knees.
- 3. He switched his terminology from "Boss" to "Lord".
- 4. In his explanation, Luke continues to introduce us to words that no other New Testament writer uses. The word translated "astonished" is used three times (though there are variations of the word found in other writers) and all by Luke. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament says the word group always indicates "fear" and can be taken as a kind of "buzz" word to refer to a theophany. The "feeling" did not render Simon Peter either immobile or speechless, but it did a substantive work in his soul. Literally, the text says "Fear surrounded him...".
- 5. The most significant import of Luke's word is that Simon Peter spoke "truth" without the typical "shading" that normally occurs when people are being careful about what they say. The words exploded out of the fear in his soul.
- II. The Inclusion of Others.
- A. Luke's explanation includes the gloss "...and all those together with him."
- B. Then he specifically identifies James and John, the sons of Zebedee -- "partners" with Simon (both in fishing and in attitude).
- III. The Conclusion.
- A. Jesus, in His holiness, does not reject Peter, James, and John, but, instead, comforts them with "Stop being afraid; from now on you shall be catching men."
- 1. This is not slighting the importance of sin's impact.
- 2. This is, instead, embracing the value of a soul's deepest honesty.
- B. They, on their part, "forsook all and followed Him" once they got back to "land".