Feb 3 2019 Luke 5 - Being Transformed to be like Jesus
3rd February 2019
Stand down for the homeless – 1200 people helped – Cleveland Coalition for the Homeless – receive donations from church groups – the people who volunteer – at least 400 volunteers – and if you don’t sign up in time, you don’t have a spot to volunteer. The cool thing – so many of the volunteers have been helped by this group who come back to help out!
Our designated job is that of a personal shopper and we help them select items from the donations – helping them to pick out things they would like. We get to have a personal one on one time with them. It is amazing the conversations that come up as you give grace and find out about their situation. There was one woman who came into town that week and she had nothing – and we were able to give her coats and shoes and boots and clothing. I’ve been surprised how most are willing to share one thing about their lives. But it is a humbling experience – the smiles and the prayers that we get to share. I encourage you to break out of your comfort zones and find ways to help people.
The reason I started doing it – to do ministry outside the four walls of our church – you don’t know what impact you have! I’ve been doing this about six years – one guy had seven children – had been out of work – looking for a way to provide for his family. He is a trucker – I suggested that he go to the place where my husband works – and eventually, my husband met him at work!
That was encouraging – we need to find some way to get involved –
Lord, thank You for this morning, we ask for the opportunity – there is so much need – help us to figure out ways to meet those needs that fit within our hearts and passions. Help me to stay out of the way as we talk about Your word – from the book of Luke.
Luke 5: 1 Now Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret (This is another name for the Sea of Galilee), and the crowd was pressing around him to hear the word of God. 2 He saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then Jesus sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep water and lower your nets for a catch."
5 Simon answered, "Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing! But at your word I will lower the nets." 6 When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets started to tear. 7 So they motioned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they were about to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!"
9 For Peter and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, Zebedee's sons, who were Simon's business partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people." 11 So when they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.
Luke tells a ‘people-oriented’ gospel story. What you will discover, not counting the disciples or the religious leaders, Jesus interacts with about 25 individuals in a personal, intimate way. This is over twice as many as Matthew.
Even in the calling of Peter, you see that Luke is much more detailed and nuanced that the other gospel writers.
Jesus says, Follow Me – and they follow Him – and we would think that this is the first time Jesus has encountered these individuals. But we know that Peter was first introduced earlier by his brother Andrew.
They go to a wedding in Cana and He turns the water into wine – and a few other places – and they go back to their nets. When He gets
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep water and lower your nets for a catch."5 Simon answered, "Master, (A term of respect – Teacher – Rabbi – someone in authority – Peter had already moved forward in his relationship with Jesus to see Him as a Teacher.) we worked hard all night and caught nothing! (What do you know as a Rabbi?! Are you a fisherman?) But at your word I will lower the nets." 6 When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets started to tear. 7 So they motioned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they were about to sink.
So this miracle takes place.
Now put yourself in Peter’s shoes! How would you respond if Jesus blesses your business? It is like Peter getting as many fish as they would get in a month! Imagine you are a car salesman and sell your month’s quota in one day! What would your response be? Praise? Shouting for joy?
8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!"
Notice the word, Lord? A change has happened as a result of this miracle. This is the first time that any one calls Jesus Lord. Peter understands WHO this is – a word to show that Jesus is divine. Peter recognizes who Christ is and acknowledges his own unworthiness – it opens His eyes to see who Jesus is, and in comparison, who Peter is.
God appears to Isaiah – I am a sinful man.
Moses – Holy Ground – falls on his knees.
John – Falls down like a dead person.
9 For Peter and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, Zebedee's sons, who were Simon's business partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people."
Just ‘fear’ – knowing who He is – things are not as we thought!
What this narrative tells us – His disciples were sinners – they had problems, troubles, weaknesses, and fears. These are the kinds of people Jesus chooses to be His disciples. These are the only people Jesus chooses. There are no disciples found in the gospels who are Worthy Wonderfuls. And we see that the Worthy Wonderfuls never become His disciples. Going back to the duck analogy – our feet are flapping like crazy under the water. But we think all the others are calm and smooth – but when we see others – the true disciples always have struggles -and we should know that in our own lives.
All of us know – the struggles we had 10,20 years ago rear their ugly heads on occasion. And we ask – why does that keep coming up.
11 So when they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.
They leave their jobs – their careers to follow Him. When Jesus was on the face of the earth – and Jesus says Follow Me – you follow Him. Most are called to follow Christ in their context – and that is the real challenge – following Christ in your everyday life. That is hard to do.
I’m sure you know this – it is easier to follow Christ here in church – than to go out there where it is so crazy.
Levi = Matthew
27 After that He went out and noticed a tax collector named Levi sitting in the tax booth, and He said to him, "Follow Me." 28 And he left everything behind, and got up and began to follow Him. 29 And Levi gave a big reception for Him in his house; and there was a great crowd of tax collectors and other people who were reclining at the table with them.
This is a disciple following Jesus in his context in every way. For Levi – it was a greater risk and much more costly. The others could go back to fishing – AND THEY DID! Until they realized it was time to give up the fishing for good.
Levi was a Jewish man collecting taxes for the Romans. The Jewish community hated the tax collectors for taking their money. He would never be allowed back into the community – either one either way. The only people who would be his friends would be other tax collectors and ‘sinners’ – so what we see here, Matthew/Levi is joining a new community – and that community was created for people like him. This rabbi – this incredibly gifted, educated, intelligent rabbi is inviting me, Levi, into a community.
29 And Levi gave a big reception for Him in his house; and there was a great crowd of tax collectors and other people who were reclining at the table with them.
Reclining at table – this is nothing like having a picnic in your neighborhood. For Jesus to recline at table with them – it was a complete and utter acceptance. You might have a picnic with your neighbors – but that doesn’t mean that you are accepting them. But Jesus is saying – these are my kind of folks. This is not a Jesus – evangelism strategy ploy. This was who He was – You go through the list of disciples and followers – one who led an insurrection – prostitutes – Ruined souls. But that is all there are in the world – until Jesus comes to them.
30 The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?"
Sinners – partying undesirables of the Jewish world.
31 And Jesus answered and said to them, "It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. 32 "I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance."
There is a contrast between the religious leaders – the Pharisees – because of the gospels, the Pharisees are really looked down upon. But they were a devout group of Jewish folks who had a high view of the Torah – the Law. Israel was under Roman rule, because of their unfaithfulness to the Laws – particularly in the book of Leviticus. They are a renewal environment – and their goal was to bring Israel back to the good ole’ days – and they wanted to accomplish it through the rigid following of rules for uniformity. It is easy for a disciple to become a Pharisee. We are all susceptible to that. The Pharisees were convinced that they had the truth – the gatekeepers of sound doctrine and practice – and they lost the heart of God. Jesus said – it is not those who are well who need a physician – but those who are sick. The healthy people – the Pharisees kept these rules and regulations so stringently – and he was saying that those kind will never have interest (or need) for this community that I am creating – so they are the saddest of all – ac community filled with sinners – even to this day. This does not mean that Jesus is anything goes. The reality is – we are being transformed – and we are always somewhere on the spectrum – but never to the end. Always somewhere in process.
These purity laws – and table fellowship – let me set up this video. If something is impure – a dead animal – or whatever – you become ritually impure. Tax collectors were ritually impure, so anyone who dines with them – are impure. But that is how they read Leviticus. And they missed the other part of the story.