Imagine a long day of work at the business that you and some friends began a few years ago. Things have been tough as they are for almost every startup. This day is no different. Sales were down again and you are exhausted. You shut down for the night and you have just spent an hour or so cleaning and cashing out the registers in preparation for the next day’s business. You are just ready to lock up and go home when Jesus shows up. You have heard word of his amazing teaching and healings and have even met him once. He actually invited you to come and be a follower of his. You were interested, but you have a business to run. So, Jesus shows up and asks if before you lock up he could use your business space for a quick Bible study. You just want to go home for the night, but you have great respect for him and so you begrudgingly consent. Watching the clock, you are relieved when you hear him wrapping it up and you reach for your keys and coat anxious to finally head home. And then, when the last attendee leaves Jesus approaches you and asks if you would show him the place. Again, exhausted, you consent. You give him the express tour and subtly make your way to the door, when Jesus takes it to the next level and asks if you could turn the OPEN sign on, fire up the cash registers, and turn on the background music as if the day were just beginning. He would like to see what business is like. You are incredulous. He must be kidding. You try to tell him that there will be no business at this hour. All the businesses in the area have closed. But once again, because of your great respect for this traveling teacher, you agree to play store. And then the unbelievable occurs. Not even a few minutes after you had turned the sign on people begin flooding into your shop. The crowds grow so large that you have to call for your friends to get down here in order to process all the business. The masses continue come through the night and when all is said and done you tally the receipts the take is more than you have had in all the years you have been in business combined. You are stunned and thrilled and.... there is Jesus. How do you respond? What do you say? You are sharp enough to suspect that Jesus had something to do with this. Thank yous and high fives are in order, champagne perhaps.
All these seem like natural responses, which makes Peter’s response in Luke 5 so shocking. While the friends must have been laughing and celebrating like any of us would have, they must also have been amazed to see Peter on his face asking Jesus to leave. Peter’s words are striking, “depart from me Lord,”... and then he reveals his motive, “for I am a sinful man.” Peter was struck in this moment in a way that he had never been before, with the harsh reality of his sin. Peter was interested in Jesus, but had a business to run and bills to pay. And on this occasion Jesus had offered him the profit of a lifetime. But rather than satisfying all Peter’s dreams, it revealed all his idolatries. Knowing that Peter’s words were not rejection, but confession, Jesus graciously did not comply. Rather he urged Peter to rise and follow him and become a fisher of men. For the first time he saw clearly and all his priorities fell in to place. We are told that as the fishermen made their way back to shore, boats barely floating due to the weight of the catch, they left everything and followed him. For Peter a life of pursuing treasure was derailed by discovering that the true treasure was pursuing him.