Jesus Calls His Disciples
Devotions for Luke 5:1-11
January 16-22, 2017
Jesus Calls His Disciples-Monday, January 16, 2017
“The fishermen had gone out of them [the boats] and were working their nets” (Luke 5:2).
Jesus calls his disciples in this story that took place on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Peter and his cohorts were concentrating on the work at hand. After a hard night of fishing, they were mending tears in their nets. They showed little interest in the itinerant preacher who passed by them, and they had no inclination to join the crowd that was listening to him. Without an apology Jesus interrupts them. Jesus steps into Peter’s boat and asks Peter to row a little distance from the shore. From the boat, Jesus addresses the crowd and shares the good news of God’s love and grace with them.
As disciples of Jesus, the Holy Spirit often interrupts us. The Spirit taps us on our shoulders and asks us to leave our comfort zones and speak to a stranger. On another occasion, we are inwardly moved to make the time to help a person in need. While we are busy making our fortunes, the Spirit opens our eyes and shows us a need. The invitation to give to that need is closely connected to seeing it. Those interruptions are neither meaningless nor fruitless. Rather they are opportunities to proclaim the good news and to share God’s love and grace.
Timeless Lord, forgive our irritation over your Spirit’s interruptions in our lives. Keep us from being driven by time and enable us to be obedient to the Spirit’s leading. Amen.
Jesus Calls His Disciples-Tuesday, January 17, 2017
“Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4).
Jesus was not a fisherman. It was evident to Peter when he watched Jesus climb into his boat. Peter also noticed that Jesus did not have many callouses on his hands. The land lubber in Jesus was highlighted when Jesus told Peter to go into deep water and cast his nets. That just wasn’t done. In order to catch fish in the Sea of Galilee, a person fished at night and in the shallows. That’s where the fish were. To humor Jesus, Peter did as he was told—and was surprised by the outcome.
We seek to live our lives rationally and logically. “There should be a reason for everything,” we tell ourselves. Still, there are times—times when we have a gut feeling, an inclination, a strong desire or a sense of God’s leading. At those times, the next step we take may not be the logical one in a long, planned out career. Instead, it may be a step of faith.
Holy Spirit, give us the ability to discern your leading and to be obedient to your guidance. Amen.
Jesus Calls His Disciples-Wednesday, January 18, 2017
“Master we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets” (Luke 5:5).
Young Timmy Mullins had entered the “terrible two’s.” Psychologists would say that he was at the stage of development when Timmy was discovering that he was not an extension of mommy. Timmy was ascertaining that he was his own self. During this time, his favorite words became, “No,” and “Mine.” Frequently, Timmy was prone to fits of anger when he did not get his way. Timmy’s parents were hopeful that he would pass quickly through this stage of life. However, Timmy never completely grew out of the “terrible two’s,” and neither do we.
We pride ourselves on our perceived independence. The words from the poem “Invictus,” “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul,” become our mantra. As disciples of Jesus, though, our primary goal is not to form the world to our will. We, who call Jesus our master and Lord, are challenged to bend our will to his. In our daily lives we seek to allow Jesus to be “the master of our fates and the captain of our souls,” To do this requires obedience and the word, “Yes.”
Guide us, O Thou great Redeemer, Pilgrims through this barren land. Amen. (“Guide me, O Thou great Redeemer” by John Hughes.)
Jesus Calls His Disciples-Thursday, January 19, 2017
“They caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break” (Luke 5:6).
Peter, his brother, Andrew, and their friends, John and James were good fishermen. They had been fishing all of their lives. Fishing was their life. These young men knew where to find the fish and when it was the best time to catch the fish. Yet even skilled fishermen, using all of their experience and natural talents, have days when they catch nothing. There are limits to human ability.
When our human ability is infused with God’s power, there are no boundaries to what can be accomplished. Peter and his companions obeyed Jesus, lowered their nets and caught so may fish their boats started to sink. Empowered by God, Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt and David slew Goliath. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, the disciples and those who came after them spread the gospel around the world. Today, as disciples of Jesus in whom God’s Spirit resides, we can do great things. We can impact the lives of others with God’s love and change the world in which we live.
Almighty God, empower us to use our talents and abilities to accomplish your will. Amen.
Jesus Calls His Disciples-Friday, January 20, 2017
“Go away from me Lord for I am a sinful man” (Luke 5:8)!
As the boats filled with fish, Peter caught a glimpse of who Jesus was. He saw the image of the divine and Peter was in awe of Jesus’ holiness and his own humanness. The Bible contains several accounts of similar experiences. Moses encountered God in a burning bush on the slopes of Mt. Horeb. He recognized God’s holiness and removed his sandals (Exodus 3:5). The prophet Isaiah encountered God’s glory in the temple. Acknowledging the holiness of the situation, Isaiah confessed that he was a man of unclean lips (Isaiah 6:5).
There are times when we may have similar experiences. After walking through the “valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23) we might looked back and be astounded at how the Lord had been moving in our lives through the entire ordeal. Wallowing in our guilt, we might be humbled by God’s unconditional forgiveness. Surrounded by people who love us, we might be amazed by the immensity of God’s grace. We may stare into a star studded night and be astounded by God’s greatness.
God doesn’t reveal himself to us for our personal enjoyment. God makes known to us who God is and reminds us of who we are. Then God swoops us up and sends us on a journey of service and love.
“Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!/ Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,/God in three persons, blessed Trinity!” Amen. (Hymn by John Dykes and Reginald Heber).
Jesus Calls His Disciples-Saturday, January 21, 2017
“Do not be afraid, from now on you will be catching people” (Luke 5:10).
Changing jobs is both exciting and frightening. The future is filled with hope. At the same time, we are unsure of all that the new job entails. We are also uncertain of our ability to meet the expectations that come with the new position. Peter was feeling the excitement and the fear. He was going from catching fish—a job he knew well—to catching people—a job he knew nothing about. He wondered if he was able to do what he was being called to do.
Every day Jesus calls us into the new. It can be exciting, after all it’s a new day. We can also be overcome by fear. We don’t know what lies ahead. Jesus calms our fears. His doesn’t do this simply by telling us not to fear. Jesus calms our fears with the assurance that he will go with us into whatever awaits us. The adventure begins.
Glorious Lord, overwhelm us with your peace, as we follow you, and cast out the fear that lurks within us. Amen.
Jesus Calls His Disciples-Sunday, January 22, 2017
“They left everything and followed him” (Luke 5:11).
These words have proved to be stumbling blocks to countless followers of Jesus. The idea seems preposterous and the cost too high. “How could we be like these first disciples and leave the people we love and the jobs that provide us sustenance?” We convince ourselves that our faith is not great enough to answer such a call.
There are indications in the gospel accounts that the actions of the disciples were not as drastic as they appear. Jesus’ travels were not to the far corners of the world, but rather short distances from his headquarters in Capernaum. The disciples were never far from their homes. Peter knew that his mother-in-law was sick and asked Jesus to heal her (Matthew 8:14). After Jesus’ post-resurrection appearance to the disciples, Peter and some other disciples decided to go fishing (John 21:3). Through their families, the disciples still had access to boats so that they could fish on the Sea of Galilee. The disciples may not have divested themselves of everything, but they did make following Jesus the priority of their lives.
As disciples of Jesus, we do not know what the cost of our discipleship will be. Unable to see into the future, we are not aware of what sacrifices may be required of us. Such uncertainty doesn’t matter, however. Our priority in life is to answer Jesus’ invitation to come and follow him. We take the step of faith. Trusting in God’s love and presence, we follow and become fishers of people.
Lord Jesus, as we follow you, anoint our lives that we may have bountiful catches for you. Amen.