“Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man.” (Luke 5:8)

“We’re all sinners,” we say. “It’s just our human nature,” we claim. We blame our behavior on sin instead of blaming our sin on our behavior. I tolerate your sins because you tolerate mine; isn’t that the case? How we hate someone who has a holier than thou attitude, acting as if they never lie or never say a bad word. We dislike the hypocrite so much because we know what she is really like, weak and sinful like us. That guy in the pulpit, talking to us about our sins, we know who he is. The shepherd, he’s one of us too, nothing special about him.

I don’t confess my sins to you so much because you already know I’m a sinner. You know that because you’re one two. So, neither of us make too big of a deal about it.

Probably, Peter, James and John and the rest of the fishermen in Luke 5 all knew about each other’s sins, they just didn’t say much about them. Maybe they apologized once in a while when the language got too rough or the lies to big. “I’m sorry I said that,” was usually sufficient to keep the friendship going. No need to point fingers or make judgments, after all, even in Peter’s day they probably said, “We’re all sinners, it’s just our human nature.”

Suddenly, the presence of Jesus changes things. It dawns on Peter who he’s with. This is not another sinner like the rest of them. Imagine standing next to a person and realizing that the person is not a sinner, doesn’t do sinful things because of his nature. Sin, in the presence of purity. It scares Peter. It reveals Peter to himself as never before. He knows he has no excuse for his sinfulness, no one to blame it on but Peter. “Go away from me, Lord.” Like David in front of God, Peter realizes that as long as he is with Jesus his sin will be ever before him.

“I am a sinful man.” At last, the truth. Not an excuse. Not comparative. I know for real who I am, Peter says.

How many of us sinners run from Jesus when we realize who we are? Jesus, as Peter will discover, is the only one who can change Peter’s sinful status. He doesn’t need Jesus to go he needs him to come closer.

Feel like what you are, a sinner? Don’t send Jesus away. Go to him. “Don’t be afraid,” Jesus says. What a statement. We don’t need to be afraid of Jesus because of our sin and we don’t need to be afraid of our sin, because of Jesus. Jesus changes everything, including our sin and human nature. We become new people whose sins are gone! As Christians we should stop saying we’re sinners. We should say, “we were sinners.” Jesus took our sins to the cross and we are now sin free. Let’s live that way.

 

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