We continue our chronological study of the Gospels, and return to Luke’s account of Jesus calling His first disciples. You will notice how each of the Gospel writers add dimensions and color to the same events. Never in error, but each presenting the LORD’s ministry from his perspective as inspired and guided by the Holy Ghost (2 Timothy 3:16).
As Jesus walked along the shores of the Sea of Galilee (referred to here by its Roman name, “Gennesaret,” 5:1), a great crowd followed Him and desired He would teach “the word of God” (5:1). Providentially, Jesus came upon two empty ships, for Simon Peter, his brother Andrew, James and his brother John “were gone out of them, and were washing their nets” (5:2). Jesus entered Simon Peter’s ship, “sat down, and taught the people out of the ship” (5:3b). When He finished teaching, He asked Peter to launch out and drop his nets into the deeper waters (5:3-4).
Peter resisted, and stated they had fished all night and had “taken nothing (5:5). Yet, he complied to Jesus’ request, and was rewarded with so many fish his net began to brake (5:6). Peter called his “partners,” James and John, who launched out to help, and both ships were so full “they began to sink” (5:7). Acknowledging he had witnessed a miracle, Peter fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (5:8). “And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men” (5:10). We are reminded the call to be a follower of Christ should never be half-hearted. Simon Peter, Andrew (though not named), James and John had this testimony: “for when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him” (5:11).
Several miracles follow that confirmed Jesus was no mere prophet or teacher, for he healed “a man full of leprosy” (5:12-16), and raised up a paralytic that was confined to his bed (5:17-26). There was also the miracle conversion of Levi, a reviled publican, who left his lucrative post as a tax collector, and became Jesus’ disciple when he heard, “Follow me” (5:27-28). Like the fishermen, “he left all, rose up, and followed [Jesus]” (5:28). Levi’s life, whom we know as Matthew and the author of the Gospel of Matthew, was so transformed, he hosted a banquet at his house, and invited his peers, his fellow publicans, to meet Jesus (5:29).
Closing thoughts – The proud, self-righteous scribes and Pharisees were provoked that Jesus would “eat and drink with publicans and sinners” (5:30). He responded to their objections with three illustrations (5:31-39) that were summed up in this: You cannot apply patches of righteousness to an unrighteous person. The unrighteous must become [new] righteous. “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith
John 2 – The First Miracle
The first verse of John 2 begins with a statement that connects us with events recorded in the preceding chapter. We read, “and the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there” (John 2:1). I believe it was the “third day” since Nathanael expressed his faith in Christ, saying, “Thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel” (1:49).
Jesus arrived in Cana of Galilee and joined His mother, Mary. Together, they attended a wedding celebration (2:1), and one to which Jesus and His disciples were invited (2:2). The wedding feast would serve as the setting for Jesus’ first public miracle. There, He turned water into wine (2:1-11), and in doing so “manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him” (2:11). With that miracle, the faith of the disciples grew from Philip’s confession when he said Jesus was “the son of Joseph” (1:45), to those men believing He was the Messiah (2:11).
Jesus then went up to Jerusalem to observe the Passover, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread that followed (2:13-23). As He entered the Temple, He was sickened at the sight of the corruption He found there. The Temple had become commercialized, men exploited (2:14) those who came to worship and give offerings.
With righteous indignation, Jesus fashioned a “scourge of small cords” (2:15a), and “drove them all out of the Temple, and the sheep ,and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables” (2:15b). The commotion was so great, that Temple officials demanded of Jesus, “What sign [i.e., sign of authority] shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?” (2:18) In other words, what right do you have to take upon yourself the purging of the Temple?
Jesus answered with a sign, but not one they understood until His death, burial, and resurrection: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (2:19). The Jews were incredulous that Jesus would claim he had the power to raise up the Temple in three days, citing the edifice had taken 46 years to build (2:20).
John interjected his own explanation, and confessed neither he or the disciples realized Jesus was speaking of His bodily resurrection, “the Temple of His body” (2:21-22).
Jesus began to perform miracles in Jerusalem and there were “many who believed in His name when they saw the miracles which He did” (2:23). He, however, “did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, 25And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man” (2:24-25).
Closing thoughts – There were many who believed Jesus, for they observed His miracles; however, He knew their hearts, and He did not believe in them (2:24-25). The prophet Jeremiah professed, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). The LORD declared to Jeremiah, “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17:10). The LORD admonished the prophet Samuel, “for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
Believer, God knows your heart better than you know yourself!
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Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith
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