But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus' feet, saying, "Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!" (Luke 5:8 NASB)
Finally, Simon got it! He not only recognized Jesus as Lord, he recognized himself as a sinner. The word he used here, hamartōlos, is a Greek word that means more than just "I have sinned a time or two". It is used here to mean "I am devoted to sinning" or "I am preeminently a sinner". Simon Peter recognized that the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man cannot comfortably coexist.
We don't want to see ourselves as thoroughly sinful, but when we do, our tendency is to run away from God rather than toward Him. Seeing ourselves as a sinner in the presence of the holy, righteous God is a terrifying place to be. We know so much of mercy and grace these days, that we've forgotten that truth, but in the presence of the flesh and blood, wonder-working Jesus, that reality slapped Simon in the face.
Isn't it wonderful that, when our response to Jesus, on seeing our sinfulness, is "Go away from me, Lord," His response to us is, "No. You come here to Me"? Simon's first thought was not purification, it was escape. Jesus was on a mission of cleansing, however, and with it, He brought the beginning of transformation in Simon Peter's life.
That's what He would like to do in our lives, and the lives of our loved ones. Today, pray for the awareness of our individual sinfulness, our hamartōlos, to be so profound that it drives us and our loved ones to our knees before the Holy One. Pray, too, that we will embrace the purification and transformation that Jesus longs to bring.