If you have a Bible handy, please open it and turn to Luke 5:1-11.
It is here that Jesus calls his first three disciples. He invites Simon, James and John to follow. It says that they do so leaving “everything behind.”
What did this mean? Certainly, it meant cutting ties with their earthly possessions, including property such as homes, boats and nets. So they would be giving up their livelihood as fishermen. In addition, their relationships with family would be radically changed.
There is yet another aspect. This would be revealed slowly, and within the context of the journey that lay ahead of them.
A Rabbi, among other things, was to teach the written Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament -- Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) as well as oral traditions.
The Rabbinic method of teaching, in part, involved taking students out of the classroom and into the world. In this environment they would encounter everyday situations. The Rabbi would then ask the students questions about these experiences and compare them to what the Torah taught.
So this process involved relearning and leaving behind preconceived notions. This was not easy to do.
In Luke, chapter 5, verses 12–32, those first three disciples witnessed some fantastic things. First, there was a pair of miracles. Jesus healed a man who had leprosy and another who had been paralyzed.
What happened next, was even more eye-opening. Jesus invited a tax collector to be a part of their group. In that day, age and place, these people had a very poor reputation.
When this happened, what might have been going on within the minds of Simon, James and John? Did they believe Jesus was lowering his standards and inviting just anyone into their exclusive club?
If so, their preconceived notions would certainly be challenged.
Jesus calls both those who do not believe they “require a physician” and those who may dearly need it.
God calls all, even those who proclaim themselves to be of more value than others. They miss the mark of what the Gospel is all about. Thank God for being gracious.
Walter is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church and has served as parish pastor for more than 25 years.