· Jesus was teaching a crowd of people the Word of God by the Sea of Galilee
· The crowd was so big that he moved from the shore to a boat to teach the people
· Jesus asked for the fishermen to let the nets down not to try and catch fish, but specifically for a catch he knew would occur
· Simon and his companions had caught no fish during the prime fishing opportunity, and let the nets down out of respect not belief
· The catch was so big it just about sunk them
· Peter’s response at the display of Jesus’ miracle was to confess he was a sinful man.
· He also declared that he was not worthy of following Jesus
· Jesus told Peter not to be afraid – meaning that Peter was afraid
· Jesus also told Peter that it was a time for a change and that he was going to “catch men”
· Peter and the others with him left their boats and followed Jesus at that invitation
· The man with leprosy believed that Jesus could heal him, it was just a matter of if Jesus was willing
· Jesus was willing and commanded him to “be clean” and immediately he was healed
· He also told the man to go through all that the Word declared he should to be declared clean from leprosy
· People hearing about the miracles wanted more of Jesus, but his response was often to withdraw and talk with God
· Jewish Religious leaders came from a far to hear Jesus teach
· Jesus chose to exhibit his power to heal here (which seems to mean at other times he did not choose to exhibit his healing power)
· A group of friends brought their paralytic friend to Jesus, and when Jesus saw THEIR faith he decided to act
· Jesus initially helped the man by forgiving his sins (context seems to indicate that the man’s sin was the biggest issue)
· The Jewish leaders are thinking Jesus has violated scripture because the Bible is clear that only God can forgive someone of their sins
· Jesus knows what they are thinking. He doesn’t tell them they are wrong about God being the only one to forgive sins, but he does claim that he has the authority also
· He shows his authority over sin by showing his authority over the body. He heals the paralytic
· The people’s response is to praise God
· Jesus invited a tax collector (a betrayer of his country) to follow him
· Like the fishermen Levi immediately did so and left everything and followed him.
· Levi then invited all his friends (who must have been very irreligious) to a party so they could also meet Jesus
· The Jewish religious leaders were indignant that Jesus would hang out with such people
· Jesus declares that he came for irreligious people, just like a doctor helps the sick, he came to call sinners to stop sinning
· The religious leaders ask a question of why Jesus’ disciples don’t observe the traditional fasts like their disciples do
· Jesus response explains that while a fast is to draw folks closer to God, while he is present the need not fast, however when he leaves they will begin to fast again.
· Then he tells a parable about wine skins, basically pointing out that those who are used to the old ways usually don’t like the new ways. Jesus is doing a new thing – grace rather than law
The heart of this passage for me is following Jesus. Like Peter, James, and John: Jesus has called me to follow him and to lead others to do the same. Like Peter I feel unprepared and unworthy, but Jesus is not daunted. He reminds me that he did not chose me because I have it all together, he chose me because I was in need. He has the power and authority to forgive my sins and make me clean. It is his work in me, not my efforts. This is the new thing he is doing. He takes sinners who are lost and hopeless; forgives them, empowers them, transforms them, and then makes them agents of his love to others. My response needs to be like those initial disciples. I need to drop all and follow him, imperfectly – yes. But I need to follow and pursue him so that he can do his work in me.
Thank you for doing for me what I cannot do for myself. Thank you for your grace and not giving up on me and my stubborn ways. Jesus, make me a fisher of men. I want to become an agent of your love to those who are lost, wounded, and without hope. So that, like me, they may come to know your mighty grace and transforming power. Holy Spirit, open my eyes to those who need Jesus today. Help me be bold in proclaiming Jesus’ love. Help me live the kind of life that people can see the newness of life in Christ, and that he came not for the healthy but the sick. Help me be an agent of your grace today with each person I meet.
In Jesus name I pray, Amen
Posted on Wed, January 7, 2015
by Joel King