Simon Peter was able to connect the dots, but are we?
When he witnessed the immense power Jesus exercised over nature he instinctively knew that he was in the presence of God, of truth and of light. Now … the things that were previously hidden became abundantly clear and he did what any man must in such an encounter. He fell down at the Lord's knee and declared without reservation: Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord. This rough and tumble, self-confident, self-made self-righteous fisherman knew without question or doubt that his entire life up to this moment had been a sham; a charade; but do we?
He now understood in his DNA that he had rejected all that is important, all that is good, all that is of lasting worth … even the worship of our Lord and God who makes himself known to us in the Man, Jesus. Peter's "hard and impenitent heart" spat on these things, and he allocated his highest and best powers to what is most temporary and fleeting. The lust of life and the pursuit of happiness, these were his gods, even though as a member of the Holy Nation he should have known better. And so upon witnessing the God-Man at work he falls down at Jesus' knee and suddenly he connects the most important dots there are. He recognizes that he is a sinful man, and that only Jesus can save him. But do we?
The Father of Lies has so advanced his cause in our day that people can no longer discern reality from perception; fact from fiction; what is from their utopian dreams; and are they impervious to logic!
Our cell phones demonstrate more logic than we do. We program them to perform the many tasks we expect of them and they do so with unflinching logic. We would tolerate nothing less. But when people cannot connect the simplest of dots we don't give it a second thought. Perhaps we even say "O well" and go with the flow.
If we could connect dots we would understand, for example, that trans-gender restrooms are not only an attempt to erase what God created. But that they place women in grave danger. We would yell Foul at the top of our lungs, demand the resignation of any official who would suggest such a thing, and remand him to the dementia unit of the nearest nursing home we could find.
If we could connect the dots like Simon Peter did, we would not dismiss the homosexual sin as simply another life style. We would not give it our tacit approval or be un-affected when the culture blesses it, praises it, worships it and glorifies it. But rather we would understand that it is a sin against nature; reason; anatomy; but finally against Him who made them male and female.
If we could connect the dots … we would understand that we like Simon Peter are sinful men; and that we along with every other illogical and spiritually comatose person stand condemned! We would know that we don't gain admittance to this holy house due to any merit or worthiness on our part. But like all men are under the judgment of God and deserve nothing but the temporal and eternal punishment we admit in the confession of sins.
Yes, Simon Peter could connect the dots. But not all of them! He recognized his sinful nature, and knew enough to prostrate himself in the Lord's presence. But he made one crucial mistake because Jesus would never do what Peter prayed. Jesus would never depart from Peter, and he will never depart from you because his word of Promise is this: "I will never leave you, nor forsake you!"
Indeed he became man for this very reason. He took up residence in Galilee and taught the glorious Word of the Father to this very end, to seek and to save that which was lost. He came to find Peter and today to find you! For you see, you are the great catch enclosed by the net of God's love and pulled into the ship of church where there is forgiveness of sins, justification and peace with God by faith in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Unlike Elisha in our Old Testament lesson today Jesus did not hesitate to embark on his mission. Instead he left God his Father, and the womb of Mary his mother, in order to cling to his Bride the church and to become one flesh with her in holy baptism and holy communion. You are that spotless and unblemished Bride made clean by the cross of the Anointed One; and by your baptism into his death. "For the joy that was set before him," says Holy Scripture, "he endured the cross, despising the shame and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God." Not for his own benefit, dear Christians, but for yours; ever pleading his redemption as your shield and your salvation.
And not a redemption that is far away, but one that is near. On the altar. Before your eyes. In your mouth. THIS is the day the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it! This is the pure spiritual milk by which we grow up unto salvation, if indeed we have tasted that the Lord is good. This is the Lamb given by God, whose flesh we eat and whose blood we drink so that we will live forever! This is the path of life, the fullness of joy, the still small voice that will open every tomb on the last day and give resurrection unto life to all who have done good, and resurrection to judgment to all who do evil.
By nature, behavior and proclivity we are the latter. But by grace through faith in Jesus, who will never leave us nor forsake us, we become the former. O give thanks unto the LORD for he is good, and his mercy endures forever! Amen.