Luke 5

Luke 5 contains a couple of the stories we have recently read.  The first disciples are called by Jesus.  They had “toiled all night and took nothing” – their nets had come up empty and they were washing their nets after an unfruitful night of trying to catch fish.  Jesus tells them to put out their nets again.  So what would you have done?  You just worked all night and got nothing – have been washing your nets and are probably ready to take a break.  But Peter answered “at your word I will let down the nets”.  He wasn’t sure why – but he chose to follow Jesus direction.  And you recall the results – nets overflowing and they have to call another boat to come help them with the catch.  Simon Peter starts to get it at this point – that Jesus is not some ordinary guy they have chosen to follow – and “he fell down at Jesus knees”.  What is your response to Jesus work in your life?  Do you take it for granted – just part of what He is supposed to do when prayers are answered or His power is at work?  Do you even notice His touch in your life?  He is at work, and we need to respond like Peter did – with gratitude and worship.  Jesus tells them “from now on you will be catching men” and “they left everything and followed Him”.  We are called to this same calling – to catch men for Jesus.  Some days that means we need to put down the nets again even after we have come up empty.  The key is listening to the Master and following His lead.  He knows where the “fish” are.  He knows how we should approach and when to drop the nets.  He knows when we need to get back in the boat.  But let’s be clear – the call of Peter, Andrew, James and John is our call too.  We too are to be fishers of men.

Luke goes on to capture the call of another of the disciples – this one Matthew or Levi as he is called in some translations – a tax collector.  The job of tax collector was a pretty lucrative gig.  They had some flexibility in how much they taxed folks and were able to accumulate a pretty nice stock of wealth  – not necessarily all done honestly and above board.  Jesus comes upon Levi who is sitting in his tax booth doing his thing and Jesus says it again: “follow me”.  And once more we see this response: “leaving everything, he rose and followed him”.  It sure does seem easy.  Research shows that most Christ Followers never lead one person to Jesus during their entire lifetime.  Yet we see Jesus just asking people to follow and they do.  Part of the reality is that Jesus was not afraid to ask – and many of us never once even offer to lead someone to the Cross.  But that is another story for another day.  “Levi made Him a great feast”.  There is an immediate response to the call to come follow.  Levi has Jesus over for some dinner and who is there – the folks that a conniving tax collector would hang out with – people like himself.  So the religious leaders get all bent out of shape and accuse Jesus of hanging with the wrong crowd.  “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners”.  Fair question – seems like a shady bunch to be hanging around with doesn’t it?  But Jesus gives them the answer and it is the same response we need to live by today: “those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick”.  We can’t help people if we are not with people.  If we only hang around with Christ Followers – there is no opportunity to lead others to the Cross.  That is part of why so many never do any fishing of men – they aren’t where the fish are.  So Jesus sets the example for us – we have to be where the fish are if we want to fish for the souls of men.  That doesn’t mean we should spend all our time there – the example is not to immerse ourselves among those who are sick to the point we become the same.  But it does mean we don’t isolate ourselves so we can have no impact.  It is about balance – like most of the difficult things in life – and we need to learn from Jesus example here.  The key is that we have to go where the fish are if we want to fish.  He showed Peter that – and He taught Levi the same thing.  Fishing means we put down the nets where the fish are.  Are you fishing for Jesus?  He has called us to be fishers of men!

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