"Do Not Be Afraid"
Feb. 7, 2019
But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men."
~ Luke 5:8-10 (ESV)
It had been a hard day for Peter. He'd been up fishing all night, probably with his brother Andrew and his partners James and John—and still they'd caught nothing. The next morning, while they were getting their nets ready for the next trip out, a visiting rabbi asked to borrow Peter's boat, so He could preach to the people on shore. "Why not?" Peter may have said to himself. "He can preach without getting mobbed, and all we have to do is keep the boat in one place." It would have made for a nice rest after a disappointing night.
But when the preaching was finished, Jesus had a tip for the hard-luck fisherman. "Go out and let the nets down again for a catch," He said. Peter knew that was a waste of time. But to show respect he did it, and shortly he and his partners were waist deep in fish, almost going under!
Peter knew he was out of his depth. Falling at Jesus' knees, he said, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." He was terrified, and who could blame him? Great miracles don't happen every day. Being involved in one is scary! And being around the One who made it happen ...? No wonder Peter wanted out of that situation. Every wrong he'd ever done came up in his memory—every meanness, every lie, every time he'd ever cheated or cursed. How could he be around the holy God?
It's like that for us, too, isn't it? Jesus tells us to do something—the situation snowballs—and suddenly we find ourselves overwhelmed, out of our depth. You want me to do what, Lord? Talk to that person about the Gospel? Why, I can't even open my mouth! Take on that responsibility in my family or at church? Right that wrong that everybody knows about, but nobody's doing anything to fix? No. Not me. I'm a sinner. Depart from me, O Lord!
But Jesus calms us just as He calmed Peter. "Don't be afraid," He says. He knows about those sins that terrify us, the old guilts we can't seem to get past. He took them all to the cross. He has forgiven us, washed us clean, made us fit for His service. We don't need to be afraid because of who we've been or what we've been like. Jesus is calling.
And He won't leave us alone to do the job, either. Whatever it is, He will be with us: guiding us, strengthening us, teaching us to depend on Him with all our hearts. He knows we need Him. As He said to Peter and the rest on the night before His death, "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in Him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).
And so, He will keep us in His love.
THE PRAYER: Lord, when I am afraid, help me trust in You. You are always with me. Thank You. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo. Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
It had been a hard day for Peter. He'd been up fishing all night, probably with his brother Andrew and his partners James and John—and still they'd caught nothing.