There’s a difference between knowing some things about Jesus and really knowing Jesus.
One way to tell if you have really seen Jesus for who He is is if you have seen yourself for who you really are.
Have you ever been broken before Jesus?
Now, when we talk about being broken, we are not talking about just feeling badly about yourself. We are talking about finally being able to actually see yourself because you have seen yourself in the light of Jesus.
This is essential.
If we aren’t looking at Jesus, it’s easy for us to think we are all right and good and basically fine. This pride goes way deep in all of us. We are basically happy with ourselves spiritually so long as we are looking at the people around us.
I think of Peter as an example.
When Peter was comparing himself to James and John and Andrew, I am sure he wasn’t too bothered. But what happens when he comes into the presence of Jesus? When he sees Jesus for who He is for the first time in Luke 5, he cries out:
“Depart from me, for I am a sinful man.”
Even the most self-confident people are overcome by their need for Jesus, when they see Jesus.
Peter’s not just standing there in the boat thinking bad thoughts about himself.He’s not randomly shouting out I am an awful person, oh man, I am so terrible.
That’s not what spurs this on.
He’s seen Jesus, really seen Him. He’s seen how powerful Jesus is and I think also, he’s seen how kind Jesus is as well and how patient he’s been with him up to this point.
As he’s looking at Jesus in the boat that day, he’s coming to really understand that this man, is God, and as a result, Simon can’t help but fall on his knees.
“Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”
This is a deep to the core feeling of entire and inexcusable sinfulness, expressed in Simon’s own straight up kind of language, that comes from a sight of Jesus, for who He really is, all powerful and good.
And the truth is, as we get to know Simon a little better throughout the gospels, we’ll see there were times later where he seemed to forget what he said there in the boat.
I mean, this is a great moment for him.
But it was hard for him to hang on to.
If you trace the core problem Simon had, even as he followed Jesus, you’ll see it was too much self confidence. This was a lesson Jesus had to teach him over and over and over again, but even with that being true, we see here, at the very least, fundamentally, at the start, that, Simon was a man who had been humbled before Jesus, which I think is one of the keys to understanding what made him in the end an effective spiritual leader.
Real spiritual leaders are humble.
And you know that they are humble, not because they go around saying bad stuff about themselves all of the time, but instead because they are just not that interested in themselves any longer.
Their lives and their energies are consumed with someone better.
They have been gripped with the glory of Christ.
There’s a new center for them and it’s not them anymore, it’s Jesus.
Worldly leaders will make all kinds of sacrifices for themselves. And honestly, sadly, even sometimes religious people, lead like this, only they are using Jesus to exalt themselves. But genuine spiritual leaders, are fighting that, because, they have seen the beauty of Christ.
To make an impact for Christ, you need to be willing to obey Christ, no matter what, and to obey Christ no matter what, you have to first be gripped by an overwhelming sense of His power and glory. Sometimes we think it is so hard to obey Jesus because what’s he’s asking us to do is so difficult, but that’s not the reason, ultimately. After all, if it were just a carpenter asking Simon to leave all those fish in the boat and follow him, that would have been hard for Simon to do, but it wasn’t just a carpenter.
And, that’s the point.
It was the “Infinite, Almighty, Omnipresent, Everlasting, God.”
Standing there in his boat.
And Simon knew. He really knew. And we know he saw Jesus because of the way he saw himself.
How about you?