Monday, May 28, 2018

The Revealed Christ

"When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” (Luke 5:8).

Jesus may have concealed Himself from the crowds during the early days of His ministry, but He revealed Himself to His disciples. In Luke 5:1–3, we find Jesus teaching the crowds. He had appropriated a boat belonging to Simon Peter as a place from which to address the crowds. After the sermon was finished, and the crowds had departed, Jesus encouraged Simon to put out into deep water and let down the nets for a catch.

Simon answered that they had been laboring all night and had not caught anything, “but because you say so, I will let down the nets.” They caught “such a large number of fish that their nets began to break,” and they had to call partners in another boat to help them (Luke 5:4–7).

Suddenly Simon realized that he was face to face with the holiness and power of God. He asked Jesus to depart, pleading “I am a sinful man.” Notice the parallel between Simon’s reaction and that of the demons, as we saw it a few days ago. What was the first thing the demons recognized about Jesus? They saw His holiness: “What do you have to do with us?” they asked. “You are the Holy One of God!” (Luke 4:33). Like the demons, Simon was terrified in the presence of the Holy One.

Sinful men could not abide the presence of this Holy Man in their midst. They wanted Him to leave, and if He would not leave, then they would get rid of Him in any way they could, even if it meant they must kill Him.

But there is a big difference between how Jesus treated the demons and how He treated Simon the sinner. What did Jesus say to the demons? “Be quiet! Come out of him!” (Luke 4:35). “He rebuked them” (Luke 4:41). But to Simon He said, “Don’t be afraid” (Luke 5:10). This Holy One had come to destroy demons, but to save men. Jesus encouraged them, “and they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him” (Luke 5:11).

It is interesting that the call to discipleship was in the midst of a manifestation of holiness. A disciple is to be holy as God is holy. If unbelievers are uncomfortable around us, that is not a bad thing; but we must be as quick as Jesus to assure them that God is gracious and that the kingdom is open for them as well.