Epiphany 5c: Luke 5:1-11
Once he sees the fish filling the nets Peter hits the deck, dropping down to Jesus’ feet. He recognizes that Jesus is not just a rabbi, not just a miracle-worker. Yet his focus is still on Peter: “Depart from me”, he begs — get away, lest I, a sinner, be destroyed by your presence, Jesus. If we sneak a peek to the verses which follow, we see another man who falls to the ground before Jesus. This man does not beg Jesus to go, but has instead sought him out; he has come to Jesus so that he might be cleansed of his leprosy. This man looks for something for himself, certainly, but he does so in faith that Jesus is able to cleanse him, and might be willing to do just that. Peter did not know who Jesus was to the extent this leprous stranger did; Peter, who has been told by Jesus to no longer be afraid, here sees what it is to encounter Jesus in faith rather than fear.