Guest Contribution by Larry G. Pardy, Barrie Campus, Community Groups Leader Coach
Welcome to Day 5 of the 24 Day Devotion. So glad you’re joining us! Each day for 24 days as a church, we’re going to read one chapter of the Gospel of Luke and post a devotion on it.
If you’ve never read the Bible, we’re so glad you’re joining us. And if you read the Bible, we hope this helps you grow in your faith.
Need to catch up? Start at Luke 1 – Is The New Testament A Lie? and follow along. Today’s devotion is below.
READ Luke 5
While Luke 4 is the announcement and the very start of Jesus ministry, Luke 5 is the progression of that start. There are four significant parts to this progression:
- Prophetic declarations and confrontation with religious leaders [Scribes and Pharisees] where Jesus perplexes them (5.20; 24; 29-30; 32; 34-35; 36-39)
Of course each of these parts of Luke 5 are worthy of reflection and we are most likely drawn to the miracles – the real show stoppers. They clearly show us Jesus is who He says He is and seemingly convinces everyone. That is with the exception of the Scribes and Pharisees [religious leaders] who appear to have seen but not really understood the healing miracles (5.26).
Some individual Scribes and Pharisees would truly get Jesus, but as a whole the religious elite would not. They would go on to challenge, test, try to trick and trap Jesus.
Eventually, they would call for his crucifixion.
The miracles are appealing, however, the focus of this devotional is on the calling of the four disciples – Peter, James, John and Matthew. At first glance, the calling of the disciples may seem rather mundane to us if we have heard the story before.
In Luke’s account of the story, Jesus doesn’t simply yell out to Peter “follow me”, He gets into Peter’s boat and He asks Peter to cast his net over the side. Peter protests, but reluctantly obliges Him. Peter and the others were “astounded” at the size of the catch (5.9) leaving Peter to fall down at Jesus’ knees in an acknowledgement of who Jesus is and declares that he (Peter) is too sinful to be in His presence (5.8). At the end of the story Peter, James and John leave everything behind to follow Jesus (5.11)
While Peter, James and John are presented as “typical” Jewish men of their day plying their trade and likely somewhat worthy of being disciples, Matthew is a horse of a different colour. Matthew was a tax collector. Which meant he was an outcast in Jewish circles.
In the New Testament, tax collectors are often referred to with contempt (Luke 18.9-14; Matthew 5.46-47, 11.19, 18.17, 21.31). The Romans occupied Israel and were oppressive. They forced the populous to pay taxes and tax collectors like Matthew were the means they used to exact taxes. They were universally hated and seen as traitors. There is good reason that when Matthew wanted to throw a great feast for Jesus, the crowd consisted of other tax collectors (5.29) and other sinners (5.30). No self respecting Jew would ever eat with a tax collector. Which demonstrates Jesus bringing change, not the status quo.
What may become lost in the details of the story is the revelation of who Jesus chose as his disciples.
This would be the greatest story ever told, one that would forever change the world and our relationship with God and surprisingly Jesus didn’t look to the movers and shakers of His day.
He didn’t look to the religious elite [Scribes, Pharisees, etc.].
He didn’t look to the rich or the powerful, the pious or righteous.
Instead, He called these four ordinary people who lived ordinary lives. Peter. James. John. Matthew.
It didn’t matter who they were, fishermen or tax collectors, common labours or the outcast of society, Jesus loved them and called them to participate in a story that would change everything.
Jesus will continue to call ordinary people to do extraordinary things. He is calling you to be His disciple, to do the extraordinary.Jesus will continue to call ordinary people to do extraordinary things. He is calling you to be His disciple, to do the extraordinary. Click To Tweet
We are loved by God and called to a ministry no matter what our past may have been.
Pray thanking God that He has called you and is calling you into a new story that will bring tremendous change in your life and the lives of others. Pray and ask Him how you can serve Him.
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