Jesus Calls the First Disciples
5 On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.
Jesus Cleanses a Leper
While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him. And he charged him to tell no one, but “go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
Jesus Heals a Paralytic
On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”
Jesus Calls Levi
After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.
And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
A Question About Fasting
And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink.” And Jesus said to them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.” He also told them a parable: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. If he does, he will tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’”
Luke 5 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Here begins a turning point in Luke as we read of his many miracles, the calling of who would be his disciples and his ministry to the people. Word had spread of Jesus and the crowds had gathered to hear Him teach. As they pressed in upon Him beside Lake Gennesaret there were 2 boats, one of which belonged to Peter. Peter was busy cleaning his nets when Jesus posed for them to put out off the shore a bit to teach the people from there.
Now, Peter had already met Jesus. In fact, Jesus had been to his house and healed his mother in law. This was not just some random coincidence of the 2 on the shores of the lake, it was by design. And this would mark the calling of Peter to follow.
So here sat Peter and possibly John, as they were usually stuck to one another, sitting in a boat off the shoreline listening to Jesus teach the crowds. When the crowd began to disperse, Jesus turned to him saying they should go out to deeper water and let their nets down for a catch.
Fishing nets were often of a bell shape with lead weights around the edges. Thrown onto the flat of the water, the nets would sink and surround the fish. Fishermen would then pull a cord, drawing the net to a close, much like a bag and pull it up.
Peter had been up all night fishing and caught nothing. He also had cleaned his nets, which was very important to rid them of weeds and debris. And truly Peter could have come up with every reasonable excuse not to do as was asked. “I’m tired”; “I think I know a bit more about fishing than you do as a carpenter”; “Um… fishing is best at night, not during the daytime” and on and on they could have flowed. But instead Peter did as was asked and they set out to the deeper waters and let their nets down. The catch was massive. Peter’s response? “I’m a sinful man! Go away from me.”
It’s an interesting response to consider what was going on in Peter’s head. He had sat captive in the boat listening to Jesus teach with authority. He had witnessed Jesus heal his mother in law. He now had seen a provision of a catch at the most unlikely time. Peter recognized his own insignificance compared to the greatness of Jesus.
There’s so much to unpack with simply this story. Yes, there is the aspect of in our coming to God we must recognize our own sinfulness. Yes, we must realize we can’t save ourselves. And yes, excuses we make are quite flimsy when Jesus calls us.
But what I think about instead is there are times Jesus asks of us to do things that make no sense. And yes, sometimes He calls us when we are busy – like Peter was initially in cleaning his nets. We can reason away our not following through with what He has asked. But the only reason Peter did what was asked was he believed in Jesus. It had nothing to do with the circumstances being right.
When it comes to the daily call of Jesus of our lives, for I believe there are these moments for us each day, do we believe in Jesus enough to do as He asks? We all can work toward some goal, even a spiritual one, and see no results. And we can make excuses that seem to be truth in the matter. But when Jesus directs our work, we will see the results only He can provide.
So the question to ponder is whatever Jesus may be asking of you today – do you believe in Him enough to follow through?
Luke 5 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.Luke 5:16 NASB
On the heels of being with His Father in prayer, Jesus is strengthened and empowered for divine service. In this case, it is the healing of a paralytic.
One day He was teaching; and there were some Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing.Luke 5:17 NASB
In a very intentional way, Luke is highlighting the fact that in between his healing of the leper and now with the paralytic, Jesus was strengthened by His Father. He was not a “workaholic” as we would consider some today. He was balanced in a rhythm of prayer and solitude which strengthened Him to perform great miracles.
In this story, a man is lowered through the roof of a house on a stretcher in order to reach Jesus and be healed. Because of the crowd that was following Jesus, they could find no other way to get to Him. Jesus responds, but addresses the faith of the man instead of his physical condition.
Seeing their faith, He said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.” 21 The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” 22 But Jesus, aware of their reasonings, answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? 23 “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins have been forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 “But, so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,” – He said to the paralytic – “I say to you, get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.”Luke 5:20-24 NASB
Jesus connected healing with forgiveness – but why? Probably the easiest way to explain this is to understand that Jesus was looking for a faith response. Even in the Old Testament, followers of God who believed in the coming Messiah and lived their lives with this type of assurance were “credited righteousness through faith.”
…and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. 22 Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.Romans 4:21-22 NASB
Jesus, in this encounter with the paralytic, sees his incredible faith and connects the physical with the spiritual. In the same way this man came with faith in Jesus to heal his physical body, we can come with faith and be forgiven of our sins. When Jesus faces resistance from the Pharisees, he says to them, “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins have been forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?”
He says to us today, get up and walk! You are free from your sin, and by faith you are healed!