When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, o Lord!
Luke 5, 8.
In Luke 5 we have a report of Peter’s special, personal encounter with Jesus Christ. Peter had put his fishing boat at the Lord’s disposal, so that He could speak to the multitudes from there. That gave him the opportunity to hear what Jesus said from a closer position than any other person.
Then the amazing thing happened. At the Lord’s command Peter caught an enormous quantity of fish in broad daylight – against all the rules of fishing. At first he had objected: “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing.” However, then he added, “Nevertheless at your word I will let down the net” (v.5). That experience astonished all who were with him. But Peter fell at the feet of Jesus, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, o Lord!”
Why did Peter describe himself in this way? The Lord had not reproached him in any way, but performed a miracle that could only make him rejoice. What caused this exclamation of Peter’s was his realization that the Son of God was standing before him after revealing something of His divine power and glory.
A consciousness of divine holiness must lead anyone to acknowledge his incongruity in God’s presence owing to his sinfulness. No-one can stand before Him as a lost sinner. But the Lord Jesus Christ came to seek and save the lost. Whoever puts his faith in Him will hear His encouraging, saving assurance, “Do not be afraid” (v.10).