Sunday 07 February 2010

Bible Book:
Luke

"When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon 'Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.'" (v.4)

Luke 5:1-11 Sunday 7 February 2010

Background

Luke's Gospel, written by a non-Jewish doctor, gives adistinctive account of the life of Jesus. Like the Gospel-writerMatthew he includes many details about Jesus' birth, but unlikeJohn and Matthew his primary interest is not in Jesus' words but inhis actions - and in particular his attitudes to the outcast andthe stranger. Luke's account is full of incidents involving lepers,Samaritans, women and children and constantly portrays Jesus as afriend of the weakest and most marginalised groups in society. Forexample, in his account of Christ's birth, Luke focuses not on theacademics visiting from the east, but on the shepherds scratching aliving on the hillside (Luke2:8-20).

It is therefore not at all surprising to find Luke includingtoday's event in his Gospel account. After all, Luke chapter 5demonstrates Jesus' calling of ordinary people to the work of thekingdom and falls between a description of Jesus himself beingrejected (4:29) and an image of Jesus spending time withlepers (5:12-16) and tax collectors (5:29-30).

There is however a second, equally striking quality to thisnarrative. Jesus performs a miracle that persuades the fishermen soutterly that they choose to leave their boats to follow him thereand then. But more importantly, the miracle is entirely conditionalon Simon's response to Jesus. In challenging these fishermen totrust the judgement of a stranger over their own considerableknowledge of fishing, Jesus demonstrates to them the need for faithand the possibilities open to them should they choose to take risksfor him.

In the years to come the disciples will face fear, imprisonment andopposition of every kind, and by testing their ability to trust himfrom the outset Jesus ensures that his followers are those who willallow him to work in their lives. One cannot help but wonder...were the disciples the only 12 Jesus called or the only 12 who werewilling to respond to his challenges?

To Ponder

Do you feel God calling you to a change orchallenge of some kind? What is your response?

Who are the outcasts and the unpopular in yourcommunity? What can the church do to protect and welcome them?

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