Numbers 32:1-33:39, Luke 4:31-5:11, Psalms 64:1-10, Proverbs 11:22
Today is the 21st day of March. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian and it is a pleasure always every day to take the next step forward in the Scriptures together with you and it’s no different today. It’s a pleasure to be here with you taking the next step forward through our week and forward through the Scriptures. We’re reading from the Gods Word Translation this week and we’ll pick up where we left off in the book of numbers and we’re just a couple of days away from concluding the book of Numbers. So, let’s dive in and take the next step. Numbers chapter 32 verse 1 through 33 verse 39 today.
Okay. So, in the gospel of Luke, and again, the gospel of Luke is one of the synoptic Gospels, which means it shares some of the same stories with Matthew and Mark, which are the other synoptic Gospels but Luke is written probably the tightest and most narrative and perhaps most complete of the Gospels. And, so, we read the story of John the Baptist and of Jesus coming and now Jesus has begun His ministry and we, of course, watched Jesus be tempted in the wilderness and then we watched Jesus come to His hometown and walk right through the voices of those who wanted denounce what He’s saying but also throw Him off a cliff. Now Jesus is in Capernaum. So, roughly an hour drive between Capernaum and Nazareth. Capernaum sits on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, it’s like a lake village and Nazareth and I haven’t looked this up on a map but somewhere in this vicinity, it’s about 50 miles to the west. So, Jesus has made his way from Nazareth back to the Sea of Galilee as we encounter Him in the stories that we read today. This is taking place around Capernaum. And, of course, of the ruins of ancient Capernaum still exist. We were just here a month ago. And Jesus begins to call his disciples together, the people that will journey with him during His ministry. An interesting, interesting, interesting thing happens today that is very, very poignant to our own decision to follow Jesus. You know, a lot of the times we think Jesus is walking around, He sees people, He says come, follow me, they come follow him. That’s how they become disciples. And a lot of these people were fishermen. So, He’s walking around the lake. Come, follow me. They come follow him and they become His band of brothers, His disciples but they were poor and backward and uneducated and didn’t know any better and didn’t have anything anyway. And, so, you know to follow a rabbi, to be called by a rabbi, and to follow the rabbi around as a disciple, this was not an unknown thing. So, it’s easy to assume Jesus comes along and offers a better proposition. And, so, they follow him. But that’s not how it worked and that’s definitely not how it worked in the calling of those disciples, the sons of Zebedee, James and John as well as Peter. The way that this story goes is quite beautiful but also quite penetrating into our own hearts. So, the first thing that we’ve got to notice is that these partners and they had a couple of boats and they were partners in a fishing business and they had been out fishing all night and they had not caught anything. So, they were there in the morning cleaning off their nets. Jesus sees the two boats, walks out and climbs into one, okay, and then asks Peter Simon to row out so he can…so he can use the acoustics basically and that’s what most scholars think. Jesus goes out a little way into the water. He’s got the boat, He’s in the boat and water is…water conducts sound as natural sound reinforcement. You know how you can be at the lake in the summertime and you can be on the other side of the lake, but you can hear the kids playing on the other side of the lake, that’s because sound travels across water naturally. So, Jesus says has natural way of amplifying his voice. He can sit there, He can speak to the people on shore who cannot crowd him. So, it’s a good situation other than the fact that Jesus has stepped into somebody else’s boat, right? And, so, you can imagine what that would be like. You know, you’re walking out of the hardware store and somebody’s sitting in your car, right, and saying, can you drive me across the street? But Jesus wasn’t unknown to this little group of people. Jesus had healed Peter’s mother in law. So, as the story continues Jesus invites them to go and fish again and they, as experienced fishermen who are in business together and are professionals at this, tell Jesus that they’ve already finished and there’s nothing and Jesus invites them to do it anyway, and they choose to do it anyway, and they carry in enough fish to just about capsize both of the boats. Okay. So, they for sure got paid back for the use of the boat that Jesus used to preach His message to the people, but this has such an impact on Peter that he’s just…he’s like on his knees before Jesus saying I can’t be around you, like you…you…you are something so good that I don’t even…I don’t even know what to say, I don’t even know what to do. Leave me, I’m sinful. You don’t need to be around me. So, Peter, James and John are all absolutely flabbergasted. They’ve just seen something they had never seen in their life and they’ve just got one of the biggest windfalls of their career probably. There boats are as full of fish as their boats can hold. So, finally, maybe they can get another boat. Finally, maybe they can get ahead. Finally, maybe they can get caught up on some things. Finally, maybe they can maintain their lives instead of always playing catch-up, which makes for a really really great story. It’s just not the story. What the Bible says, according to the book of Luke is that…and I’m quoting the Bible, “Simon and his partners brought the boat to shore, left everything, and followed Jesus.” So, in other words, they left everything at the moment that they were finally about to maybe get ahead in life they left it all on the shore, two boats full of fish and followed Jesus. Where this gets poignant is when we consider why it is that we headed the words come, follow me. Why are we following Jesus? Because a lot of times what happened to James and John and Peter is why we’re following Jesus. We are trying to get the windfall. We are trying to get the wind at our back. We’re trying to experience prosperity and blessing and that’s what these disciples had received. And yet in the presence of Jesus understanding what they were experiencing they left it all behind to follow Him. And we may recognize that this is this is the theme of the faith, but in this story we can see that it is…not that God is not unwilling to bless and prosper it’s just these fishermen, even though they were blessed and had been given something that would prosper them, they saw something far more valuable in the presence of Jesus than anything that could be given to them. So, where this becomes poignant is when we begin to consider how we would react if it were we who were in this story. And there’s probably plenty of examples in our own lives when we can consider…when we’re praying and praying and praying and believing and believing and believing to get over some certain kind of hump and we’re believing in God to come through for us on some kind of situation in our lives. And it’s not that He won’t and it’s not that He doesn’t. He does but when he does, what happens? Do we go, “thank you” and give him a hug and then move on with our lives or do we realize the presence of God and the invitation into the adventure of life where we don’t look at the situation and go, “there, all is well in my life, God came through for me. Now I have what I want.” Are we able to look at it and go, “there’s nothing compared to the presence of God. I can walk away from this no problem.” All I want is to be in the presence of Jesus. There’s some things to think about today. And if we will allow ourselves to think about them today and invite the Holy Spirit to lead us in thinking about them today we may realize that in some ways we’re using our relationship with God like a relationship with Santa Claus and that’s not a relationship that’s gonna work because that’s not really a relationship. So, maybe an even more poignant question is, what would you not leave behind to follow Jesus?
Holy Spirit, we invite you into that. It’s a pretty penetrating thing, a pretty penetrating question. And, so, we invite you into it because we want to move forward on the narrow path that leads to life, so that the day does arrive that we can have two bountiful boats full of fish and prosperity and the promise for a better life, only to see your eyes and your presence and say, wherever you’re going is where I’m going. If you want me to have this, great. If this can be used for your kingdom great. If you’ve got some purposes for this that you want to use my hands and feet for, great. But wherever you go I am going on and whatever you choose to give me to work with, that’s what I’ll work with. Father, we acknowledge that this is a bit countercultural because most of us are in Western cultures where it really is individualistic and very much…how much can we amass in one way or another. When we’re learning in the Scripture has a lot less to do with what we have and a lot more to do with who we are in covenant with. With you there is no lack. It’s yours. The world and everything in its belong to you. There is no lack with you. And, so, we run to you. Come Holy Spirit we pray. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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