Friday, January 23, 2009

Intimate, yet at Awe

Next week, many in our church will be involved in a time of corporate prayer and fasting as we seek the Lord for His direction for 2009. For myself, I want to simply wait on the Lord and to hear and receive from Him. And as I approach this special week, I want the posture of my heart to be right.

There are two unhealthy extremes I know I can be prone to at such times regarding my perception of Jesus. One is to see Him almost like a buddy that I'm so casual and laid back around that I trivialize who He truly is and forget how awesome it is to know Him. The other is to think of Him as so awesome and so lofty that I don't believe He'd have the time of day for me -- as though He's just too high and mighty to have anything to do with me. Neither of these extremes will help me to grow in my relationship with Him.

I see in Luke 5 a better example of how I can perceive Jesus in both His humanity and His divinity that will help me to avoid those extremes. Luke 5:4-11 tells the story of Jesus being in the boat with Peter, James and John, and of how Jesus told them to let down their nets for a catch. Though Peter protested that they'd fished all night (when fish are much closer to the surface) and had caught nothing, he agreed to lower their nets anyway, and then the amazing happened. The nets quickly filled with fish to the point of breaking, and so they called out to those in another boat to come and help them, and they filled both boats so full that they began to sink! It says, "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 5:8).

Picture it... Here's Jesus, out at sea in a creaky, smelly old fishing boat, the waves happily slapping up against its wooden bow as the men "put out into the deep" where they could let down their nets. Then, moments later, I can see Him smiling as He kneels amidst a sinking boat full of flopping fish, watching the looks of amazement on these men's faces, everybody scrambling and clamoring about what just happened. And then Peter turns from the fish and the nets and the shouts of joy and cries out to Jesus, "Depart from me, for I'm a sinful man, O Lord!" At that moment, Peter was very aware of Jesus' complete otherness -- Jesus' awesomeness -- and his response was to say, "I'm not worthy to be with You!"

But it's valuable to remind ourselves that prior to the miracle of the catch, Peter had been sharing his boat with this amazing Man, Jesus, kneeling with Him amidst the nets and the ropes, both of them feeling the spray of the waves and the warmth of the sun together. Peter was experiencing the gift of Jesus' complete nearness and was experiencing the privilege of getting to know who He was and what He was like, up close and personal. And though Peter ended up awestruck by what Jesus was capable of doing, when Jesus responded gently to Peter's plea to depart from Him with an invitation of, "I'm willing to be with you so that you catch men for now on" (v.10), Peter's immediate response was to leave everything and follow Him (v.11). Though in awe, Peter desperately wanted to be near this great Man who offered him His friendship.

That's how I want to perceive Jesus... always with me, and in fact, wanting to be with me, calling me to be with Him, to partner in His purposes with Him..., and so powerful and awesome that He continually amazes me by what I see Him accomplish in His Word and in my life and in this world. Yes, He wants to be close to us, but His nearness should continually astound us.

© 2009 by Ken Peters


Anonymous said...

I like that thought - it's a powerful insight..

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... I agree. I know that although I get to approach Him with boldness as his daughter, He still takes my breath away. To feel chosen by One so awesome is truly amazing. Thanks for the book - I'm looking forward to meditating my way through it.

Ken said...

Thanks for both those comments. And I do hope you'll enjoy the book Dianna. I always find that Piper's writings challenge me deeply.