Luke 5:7 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.
Luke 5:8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”
Luke 5:9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken,
Luke 5:10 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.”
Luke 5:11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.
It’s easy to read this and blow it off somehow. I mean seriously, did they really leave everything and follow Jesus just like that?
So what if they did?
Let’s work that out for a little bit, shall we?
There are boats loaded ridiculously full of fish. Somebody had to stick around and take care of that. They at least brought them to land.
Later on they are at Peter’s house and Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law, so they didn’t leave everything and follow Him like a missing person. They left and followed Him for at least that day.
But they left those boats and those fish behind. What they had been working on all night long—just abandoned.
We humans always deal in exchanges. We very seldom give something up without hope for at least a happy feeling inside in exchange. So Peter and James and John and Andrew…the 4 named disciples that left everything and followed that day…must have seen this as a worthy exchange.
Peter’s confession “Away from me Lord. I’m a sinful man.” Is the only time in the Bible that someone blatantly told God to go away. Sure, plenty of the prophets and Moses record people resisting and fleeing God with their actions, but this is it. This is the full-on blatant statement.
Jesus didn’t take that rejection. People worry about “The sin against the Holy Spirit” like it’s blatantly rejecting God, but Jesus saw through this. Jesus saw that Peter was expressing his own unworthiness to even receive fish from Jesus, much less anything else.
He was blatantly rejecting any presumption that he deserved Jesus.
His next move was to “leave everything” and follow Jesus.
Those two are linked. He realized that he didn’t have anything to offer Jesus except for himself. He didn’t have any good works to contribute, and he didn’t deserve to be a disciple, but in following Jesus, Peter offered Jesus the only thing he had to offer.
The everything that we leave behind to follow Jesus is never worth sticking around for. The life without Jesus, no matter how honorable or successful, is never anything in comparison to life with Jesus. He’s worth it.
But we only see it after we take the dive, leave everything that holds us back, and follow Him.