Luke 5:  On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret,  and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets.  Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat.  And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”  And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.”  And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking.  They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.  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.”  And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.
Verse 8 – Depart from me, for I am a sinful man .
Have you ever seen a real miracle? The word “miracle” gets bandied about so much that it begins to lose its force. Some teach that miracles are common place, which makes them less than miraculous. If they are common place then that means that the breaking of the normal laws of nature is a common thing and that must mean they are not unusual. It means that the laws are not laws. What makes a miracle a miracle is not just that the impossible happens. It is its breaking out of the common. It is an extra – ordinary event. Common miracles will diminish the awe that ought to accompany them. And that is what happens.
Far too many believers thinking that they deserve a miracle, a special visitation from God. And when they actually think they have had one, the response is very interesting. There is no sense of wonder, or awe or humility. We hear people telling us that we can have a miracle everyday as well. No big deal.
Miracles are, well, miraculous. They defy what science says can happen. They break the rules that we have discovered are the ways that things work. People cannot walk on water, make food for 5000 people from a boy’s lunch, raise the dead after four days. But Jesus did just these things and more. And they should stun us. But also more than that. They should make us fall and they should make us fear. It is a fearful thing for sinful mortals to come into the presence of sovereign holiness.
When Jesus caused Peter and his companions to catch a great number of fish after having failed to catch any all night the last thing that Peter wanted was for Jesus to stay. Why? Because he knew he was in the presence of something far greater than himself. This miracle brought him face to face with the fact that he was a sinner and standing in the presence of holiness. When Isaiah had his vision of the Lord, high and lifted up, it caused Isaiah to fall and fear for his life. It caused Ezekiel to fall down as a dead man and the Holy Spirit had to get him back on his feet. It caused Daniel to fear for his life. It made John the Apostle fall down as if dead.
What in the world is wrong with us? We can talk about visits from God and miracles as if it is as eventful as a bowl of porridge. And the reason is that most of the time what people are calling miracles and visits from God just aren’t. Listen closely to those who speak and write about their visions and miracles and audiences with the Almighty. They speak more about themselves than God. They speak about their message, their call, their need for funds, their uniqueness as messengers of God. What they do not talk about is God and the terrifying thing it was for them to be in His presence – because they weren’t.
For a sinner to enter into the presence of God is an awesome thing. It can only happen by the power of the cross and when it happens it will change us, not put us on the hustings for our ministry. The way to come into the presence of God now is through faith in Jesus Christ.
We rejoice in this even though we have not seen Him – and the vast majority of us have not (I Peter 1:8). We have seen Him with the eyes of faith and one day we shall see Him as He is – but not yet (I John3:3). Miracles? I believe God still performs them. And I believe that a real one will do more for us than what we normally have recounted to us. Live a life of holiness – now there is a miracle.