Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Calling the Fishermen

A lot is said about the calling of the disciples, how Jesus took these common, ordinary men right in the midst of their common, ordinary lives and brought them into His inner circle to become more than they ever imagined they would be. But what I like is the way that Luke tells the story of the calling of the fishermen because it says something very important about Jesus. 

The way Luke tells it, the crowds were pressing in on Jesus. He was already well-known enough to draw a crowd, and they were backing Him toward the sea. When they had gathered and He had settled them, He began to teach, but then He called to the fishermen who were in their boats and told them, "Come, follow Me!" And at once, they laid down their nets.

Now, it raises some interesting questions for the sanctified imagination. What were these men doing on the sea while a large crowd gathered on the shore? Were they fishing, cleaning their nets, or basically just tending to their business? Did they have one ear on the Rabbi, listening in to what He was saying to the crowds, or were they in their own little world? 

Jesus had to turn around to talk to them. In front of Him were the masses, hundreds if not thousands of individuals who had traveled to this place just to catch a moment with Him. Set eyes on Him. See Him do a miracle. Hear Him teach. Something. They were captivated by Him, and they were already big Jesus people. They were fans. 

Behind Him...fishermen. 

Most of us would be looking at the crowd. Most of us would be looking around, trying to see what friends we wanted to make out there. Thinking about which of these faithful travelers we would like to bring into the fold. Figuring out who to call from those who were presenting themselves for the calling. After all, we love a good volunteer. Someone eager and willing that we can draw in and put to good use for our programs and purposes. It's the kind of thing churches thrive on. 

But Jesus...Jesus doesn't call His disciples from the crowd. He doesn't even call them from the shore. He calls them from the sea, where they are going about their regular business and maybe or maybe not catching the action on the shore. Maybe or maybe not hearing Him teach. Jesus calls His disciples from behind Him, from a place to which He has to deliberately turn around in order to even notice. 

Do you get that Jesus will turn around to deliberately notice you? Do you get that He's so in tune with what's going on around Him that He's not blinded by what's going on in front of Him? That He's not so enamored by the crowds that He would miss the few? 

The other Gospels, they tell you that He called the fishermen when they were on the sea, but Luke...Luke tells you what Jesus was doing when He did it. That He was teaching. That He was engaged in the other direction. That He had to make a conscious effort to engage the fishermen. 

That Jesus turned around and called the chosen, rather than simply choosing from the crowds. 

He still does. 

That's pretty cool. 

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