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 … (Luke 5:1 ESV)
At this point, the people were eager to hear only one thing and that was the word of God. They crowded around Jesus so closely there was no place from which he could easily teach. So Peter creates a stage on the water for the Master and Jesus gives them what they want and need. With the truth, Jesus had already whetted the appetite of those living in Galilee. Now they couldn’t get enough. This is a huge takeaway for me. I must constantly be speaking the word of God to everyone around me. Many will not accept it, but how will any grow in their desire for more and how will faith be formed within them unless I start here?
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.” (Luke 5:4-5 ESV)
Peter knew how to fish and he knew this was normally a really dumb idea. But it was Jesus telling him to do it. So, only because it was the Master telling him to go where the fish never were, he went. Jesus often tests our obedience in similar ways. We’re tempted to say, “That’ll never work!” We must remember the One commanding us to go out deeper.
… 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. (Luke 5:15-16 ESV)
Jesus did not fall into the trap of thinking that since the response is greater, he is obligated to stretch himself thinner and thinner—neglecting his own communion with the Father. No, he would withdraw often to isolated spots to pray. There are so many things on my plate right now. I can’t allow the urgent to crowd out the important. What good is it if I check off everything on my to-do list (if that’s even possible) and yet forfeit my intimacy with Christ?
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.” (Luke 5:18-20 ESV)
Oh, to have friends like this. Jesus saw not only the faith of the paralytic, but also the faith of his friends. Faith that sets good manners and respectability aside and propels them to do whatever it takes to see that their friend gets to Jesus. May I be that kind of friend.
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.” (Luke 5:30-32 ESV)
Who would have thought? A tax collector, some fishermen and a zealot all named as the Lord’s closest followers. This is the way the Lord works. He takes the weak, the broken, the down-and-outers, and raises them in newness of life to bring great glory to His name. Am I too selective—choosy—in who I talk to and minister to thinking that some deserve God’s grace more than others? Yes, I am and this can’t be. The gospel must fly indiscriminately for my lips.
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 [better].’” (Luke 5:36-39 ESV)
No one can mix the Old Covenant with the New. Jesus came and did a “new thing.” Yes, it was the fulfillment of everything the Old Testament foretold. But it was new and the shadow of the old needed to fade away. Try to mix the two and you end up destroying both. We, on the other hand, always claim the old is better. May the One who makes all things new, always lead us in the freshness of His new life. This does not mean we invent creative new ways of worship, missions or edification (this is really the same “old thing” we’ve always done—manmade religion done in our own strength). It does, however, mean that we walk and live and breathe in the power of the resurrection following our Lord’s lead.