27 July 2015

Luke 5:1-11

“When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.” (v. 11)

Psalm: Psalm 50


The writer places this among a number of stories about Jesus teaching and healing, and people being very impressed. He is definitely the current celebrity to see and hear. So he needs some space and some sort of platform to cope with the crowd. He relies on folk he already knows a little (see Luke 4:38 for instance), but takes it for granted that these exhausted men will respond. They have been working all night, and have just got in, as it were, and presumably want to clear up and go home.

This is also one version of how Jesus called his first disciples, within a context of work and crowds and semi-public teaching, not during individual conversations, as some of the other gospel writers appear to imply. So their willingness to do what he says is made public.

Presumably, then, this miracle is not meant to help us think about how these fishermen might be helped in their daily work if they respond to Jesus. But if it is about their possible future, it might explain Peter's fairly extreme reaction. Certainly, it might invite the reader to consider how just this one episode revealed the power of the presence of God seen in Jesus.

In terms of the immediate nature of the response to follow, I am always left wondering who dealt with the catch - and clearing up the nets and the boats. Poor deserted Zebedee, or the employees, who were probably even more tired that the brothers and their friends?

To Ponder

  • Have you ever walked away from a task others expected you to deal with, because you felt profoundly called to something else? What did that feel like?
  • Or do you always finish what you start? If so, how do you feel about those who walk away - and about yourself?

Bible notes author

Revd Alison Tomlin

Alison Tomlin is a supernumerary Methodist minister, who was president of the Methodist Conference in 2010/2011. She has been involved for the last 25 years in leading retreats and offering prayer, accompanying both groups and individuals.