Luke 5 – Presence, Prostration, and Simon Peter

Luke 5 Bible with Green and Blacks 85 percent Cacao Dark Chocolate

Today’s ChocolateGreen & Black’s 85% Cacao Dark Chocolate

Today’s PassageLuke 5

I guess I could continue the Nativity Story thing and tackle John 1 for this post, but I already read Luke 5 and ate the chocolate. I ended Christmas, everyone. Sorry. There’s nothing for it but to keep moving forward.

In Luke 5, Jesus calls the fishermen disciples to follow him after he miraculously fills their nets. And after all the business about bowing down and worshiping in yesterday’s post, Peter’s response to the miracle haul jumped out at me like a fish leaping into Strong Bad’s boat. Amazed by the net-rendingly massive catch, Peter falls down at Jesus’ feet and says, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!” (8).

It’s not the same verb for bowing as we saw yesterday. It’s προσπίπτω, prospiptō, meaning “to fall down in front of;” as far as I can tell from the Strong’s Concordance entry, it’s all about the physical act of falling down. And that’s usually an act of worship or reverence, though the word shows up in Jesus’ “Parable of the Two Foundations,” describing the winds battering the houses of the wise and foolish men (Matthew 7:25, 27). So, we know Peter physically prostrates himself before Jesus when the other fishermen start bringing in fish by the boatload. But what does he mean by the act?

I think Peter means to worship Jesus. His words remind me of Isaiah’s response to his vision of God’s glory filling the temple: “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips” (Isaiah 6:5). Like Isaiah (and others), Peter becomes acutely conscious of his own sinfulness when contrasted with the presence of God himself. The power of God in person can even drive one to fall face-down to the ground. It certainly did for Ezekiel: “And when I saw it, I fell on my face and heard a voice speaking” (Ezekiel 1:28). The weight of God’s presence compels exactly the sorts of reactions, in speech and posture, that Peter exhibits here.

Even in his earliest encounters with Jesus, Peter realizes that he’s dealing with no ordinary human. He can tell the fullness of deity dwells in this ordinary man from Nazareth. Don’t be like Herod; be like Peter. Worship the Son.

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