Sunday, August 28, 2011

"Ave Christus, morituri te salutamus!"
    As noted in the first post on this subject Peter's responses to Jesus change due to a series of events culminating in Christ teaching from Peter's boat and His miracle draught of fishes. Peter's first response;
" 'Master,we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless...' "
although somewhat tenative is done out of respect for a teacher. This makes sense as rabbis were often seen gathering disciples and teaching in Jesus' and Peter's day;
"Jesus' gathering of disciples was not unusual in his time and Jewish setting. Many rabbis would gather students around them to teach Torah." (Biblegateway)
    Yet it is quite different from Peter's second response as the second is addressing someone much greater then just another respected rabbi/teacher, i.e. Peters second response is addressing God or at the very least someone who speaks for and carries the authority of God.  Please note; it is doubtful Peter saw Jesus as God at this point, rather Peter now saw Jesus as God's representative with God's power and authority so it was as if God Himself were actually there. Consequently we see a change in Peter's response to Jesus. This response to Jesus is frequently shown in the New Testament;
"And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh." (Matthew 2:11/NKJV)
"And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw Him, fell down before Him and cried out, saying, 'You are the Son of God.' " (Mark 3:11/NKJV)
"And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet..." (Mark 5:22/NKJV, see also Luke 8:41)
"But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth." (Mark 5:33/NKJV)
"Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, 'Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.' "(John 11:32/NKJV)
    So let us continue to look at Peter's responses to Christ;
"But Simon answered and said to Him, 'Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.' " (Luke 5:5/NKJV)
"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/NKJV)
    Peter's second response is different because;
"Simon, for his part, knows that he is a sinner who is not worthy to experience the benefits of God's power and presence. There is no presumption that God owes him anything." (Biblegateway)
    This attitude is frequently reflected in Jewish culture and beliefs, and is consistent with that of other responses to God and His representatives throughout scripture;
"When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, 'I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.' Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying:" (Genesis 17:1-3/NKJV)
"Then the LORD appeared to him by the terebinth trees of Mamre, as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day. So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing by him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground," (Genesis 18: 1-2/NKJV)
"Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. Then they said to Moses, 'You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.' " (Exodus 20:18-19/NKJV)

"So He said, 'No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.' And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, 'What does my Lord say to His servant?' " (Joshua 5:14/NKJV)
"So I said: 'Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.' " (Isaiah 6:5/NKJV)
For New Testament references please see the above scriptures on Jesus.
    Note the responses of the Israelites and Isaiah in the scriptures above;
" '...but let not God speak with us, lest we die.' "
"So I said: 'Woe is me, for I am undone!...' " 
    Like Peter they realize that an impure, unholy, wretched and sinful people cannot stand in the presence of a pure, holy, worthy and righteous God.  We see examples of this in Exodus 33:18-22 when Moses asks to see God in all His glory and in Leviticus 10:1-6 when Aarons sons present profane (unholy) fire before God.  In the first circumstance God provides a means for Moses to see only part of His glory and in the second God's holiness consumes Aarons sons. However, coming "face to face" with God not only shows us His true nature, but (in the pure light of God) also shows us our true condition; i.e whenever we have an encounter with the true God we are faced with two things;
  1. who and what God really is
  2. who and what we really are
    Fortunately, God does not break forth upon Moses, Peter and even us today as he did with the sons of Aaron. His response is one of grace. It is the same response that Christ shows Peter.  It is this response which will be discussed in my next post.

"Simul iustus et peccator"*
*Martin Luther
images sources;
Fish In Net 
Woman At Jesus Feet

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