25 January 2009

not the expected response

reading Luke 5 the other day, i came across something that didn't quite fit (this happens more often when i'm paying attention to the Bible). the first part of the chapter is about Jesus calling the first disciples. Jesus borrows Simon Peter's boat to preach from and then asks him to go out fishing again. and even though they'd tried so hard before Jesus came (and clearly indicated that they thought him odd for asking, even after hearing him preach his message), they went out again to fish - just because Jesus asked. and they caught enough to almost sink the boats. and Simon "fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!"...Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.’" (Luke 5:8,10 NRSV).

and i thought, hey, wait a minute. Jesus' words not to be afraid can be seen as somewhat of an answer to Simon's request that he go away from him - his answer to Simon's acknowledgment that he is a sinner and not worthy to be so close to one so mighty as Jesus. but to say, "do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people" made me pause. it didn't sound particularly comforting. i find "catching people" (i.e. bringing people to God) rather scary, especially since i am sinful like Simon. and yet Jesus' answer reminds me that it's not about me really - that it's not about how worthy i feel i am or my ideas of what works. God says simply, "don't worry, i have plans for you." and i might just be surprised by what God does in and through and around me. and these plans and surprises do bring me comfort.

1 comment:

Theo said...

This makes sense.
Good observation!