Least…sinful…untimely born. All adjectives of deprecation used by both Paul the apostle and Simon Peter the disciple. Not feeling worthy of God is often a sense many have to keep away from any kind of commitment. Not good enough…have to sort my life out…etc. Except Jesus though the grace of God accepts and embraces us as we are. No changes beforehand necessary, no need to become better.
In writing his letter to the church in Corinth, Paul may be referring to his encounter
with Jesus on his way to Damascus to confront and arrest the Christians. Jesus asks ‘Why are you persecuting me?’ Not why are you persecuting my people nor why are you on your way to arrest my followers? But why are you persecuting me? It’s Jesus who sees himself in the life of his followers. And he will do the same in the life of
This fisherman is disarmed by Jesus; not for the haul of fish but for the simple act of asking for a boat to use for preaching. A risk to take and a teaching to hear. There is something about this man Jesus that compels Simon to let this stranger use his boat. And then use it again to bring in all the fish they didn’t catch the night before. Simon Peter had to have been exhausted, fishing all night, then listen to this preacher, then go out yet again. And as Jesus takes a risk with Peter so God takes a risk with us.
As Jesus confronted Paul so he will confront us. As the good news of Jesus changed them both so it has changed us all from insecure and questioning to people with a story to share and to tell. And as Paul and Peter will become linked so we all are linked to one another in our stories, in our faith, in our lives.
There is something about our personal and collective experience with Jesus that we cannot live without. Simon Peter would never be the same; he would go back to fishing only after Jesus’ crucifixion simply because he was completely at a loss of what to do and what to believe. And contrary to all reason both Peter and Paul lived lives after meeting Jesus that would eventually take them to an execution.
All for the sake of this man who loved them as they were. And he does the same for us. Amen.