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What Does It Look Like to Come to Jesus?
"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, ESV
Jesus said, "Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) What does it look like to come to Jesus? In today's passage, we see two different men in very different life circumstances both come to Jesus and find salvation in Him: the Apostle Peter and a leper. While their encounters with Jesus were different, we can learn from both of them what it looks like to come to Jesus in faith.
Peter apparently knew about Jesus before this encounter. In so many ways, this encounter with Jesus was very inconvenient for Peter. He had just finished fishing all night and had nothing to show for his work. Jesus showed up and decided to use Peter's boat as a floating pulpit or platform from which to teach the crowds. Jesus asked Peter to push out from shore a little so that He could teach without the crowds pressing in too closely for anyone to be able to hear. On some level, I'm sure Peter wished he could just go home and sleep.
After Jesus finished teaching for some time, He asked Peter to go out and fish more. Jesus wasn't a fisherman; Peter was. Peter had already fished all night and caught nothing. Even though he thought he knew better, he still went fishing. The result: This experienced professional fisherman was astonished by the incredibly large catch of fish, so large their nets started breaking and they needed help from their friends in another boat.
When Peter returns to shore, he reacts to Jesus in a way that we probably wouldn't expect. He doesn't say, "Wow! That was cool! Can you do that again?" He doesn't even say, "Can I follow you, please?" No, he falls to his knees and begs Jesus to leave him, for he is a sinful man. Peter shows that he knows who Jesus is and that he also knows his own sinful state. This humble repentance shows real understanding and real faith, as Jesus calms his fears and invites Peter to follow Him.
The leper also comes to Jesus in humility, confessing his need and pleading with Jesus to meet it. He, too, understands the power of Jesus, as he says, "If you are willing, you can make me clean." Jesus responds to his humble faith with loving compassion and healing.
So, what does coming to faith in Jesus look like?
1. Knowing who Jesus is, especially how powerful and holy. A tame, domesticated Jesus of convenience cannot save because it is not the real Jesus.
2. Knowing who we are, especially the depth of our sin and our need for Jesus. No entitlement mentality will ever lead you to real trust in Jesus.
3. An honest and open plea. Both the leper and Peter were honest with Jesus, speaking from their heart.
If we know who Jesus is and we know our need and we will come to Him with out honest plea, He will not turn us away. He will have compassion. He will save.
Prayer Based on Psalm 108:
My heart is steadfast, O God!
I will sing and make melody with all my being!
Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn!
I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to You among the nations.
For Your steadfast love is great above the heavens;
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let Your glory be over all the earth!
That Your beloved ones may be delivered,
give salvation by Your right hand and answer me!
God, You have promised in Your holiness:
“The meek shall inherit the earth.".
All the nations of the earth belong to You;
Your church is Your prize possession,
the visible sign of Your rule on the earth.
The nations of the world, which rebel against You,
these You will destroy,
over them all You shout in triumph.
Who will bring Your people to victory over Your enemies?
It seems in many ways like You have rejected us, O God,
When You missionaries and evangelists labor and see no apparent fruit,
in hardened places where little Gospel light shines.
Oh grant us help against the foe,
for vain is the salvation of man!
With You alone, O God, we shall do valiantly;
it is You alone who will tread down our foes.
Give Your Gospel message success in Muslim lands,
in secular post-modern Europe,
in the darkest corners of the earth;
Shine the light of Christ for all to see!