2017 2nd Quarter
Lesson 1, March 25-31, The Person of Peter
Sunday, March 26
“And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.” KJV, Luke 5:1-11, emphasis added.
“But Peter was unmindful now of boats or lading. This miracle, above any other he had ever witnessed, was to him a manifestation of divine power. In Jesus he saw One who held all nature under His control. The presence of divinity revealed his own unholiness. Love for his Master, shame for his own unbelief, gratitude for the condescension of Christ, above all, the sense of his uncleanness in the presence of infinite purity, overwhelmed him. While his companions were securing the contents of the net, Peter fell at the Saviour’s feet, exclaiming, ‘Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.’
“It was the same presence of divine holiness that had caused the prophet Daniel to fall as one dead before the angel of God. He said, ‘My comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.’ So when Isaiah beheld the glory of the Lord, he exclaimed, ‘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 mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.’ Daniel 10:8; Isaiah 6:5. Humanity, with its weakness and sin, was brought in contrast with the perfection of divinity, and he felt altogether deficient and unholy. Thus it has been with all who have been granted a view of God’s greatness and majesty.
“Peter exclaimed, ‘Depart from me; for I am a sinful man;’ yet he clung to the feet of Jesus, feeling that he could not be parted from Him. The Saviour answered, ‘Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.’ It was after Isaiah had beheld the holiness of God and his own unworthiness that he was entrusted with the divine message. It was after Peter had been led to self-renunciation and dependence upon divine power that he received the call to his work for Christ.” (Ellen White, Desire of Ages, 246, emphasis added.)
“But even as he spoke, he was clinging to the feet of Jesus, and would not have been willing for the Saviour to take him at his word, even if he had attempted to do so.
“But Jesus understood the conflicting emotions of the impetuous disciple, and said to him, ‘Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.’ Similar words were afterward addressed to the three other fishermen, when they were all upon the shore. As they were busily employed in mending their nets, which had been broken by the great weight of the fish they had taken, Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ Immediately after this they left their nets and boats and followed the Saviour. These humble fishermen recognized the divine authority of Jesus, and forthwith gave up their regular occupation and left their worldly possessions in obedience to the command of their Lord.
“These four disciples were more closely associated with Jesus in his earthly life than any of the others. Christ, the light of the world, was abundantly able to qualify these unlearned fishermen of Galilee for the high commission he had chosen for them. The words spoken to these lowly men were of mighty signification; they were to influence the world through all time. It seemed a simple thing for Jesus to call those poor, discouraged men to follow him; but it was an event productive of tremendous results; it was to shake the world. The quickening power of God, enlightening the minds of those illiterate fishermen, was to enable them to spread the doctrines of Christ far and wide, and others were to take up the task, until it would reach all lands, and be taught in all ages, winning many to salvation. Thus would the poor fishermen of Galilee be, indeed, ‘fishers of men.'” (Ellen White, Vol. 2, Spirit of Prophecy, 184-186, emphasis added.)