Mar 21 2013 - Luke 4:31-5:11 – That is why I was sent
Jesus had been performing wonderful miracles of healing in Capernaum. First he had driven an unclean spirit out of a possessed man in the synagogue to the astonishment of all who saw it and heard what he said. They were amazed that Jesus’ words were words of authority; he could command evil spirits and they submitted to him. Jesus then healed Simon's mother-in-law of a fever, enabling her to serve him. Then, at nightfall, he had healed many who had been brought to see him – some perhaps brought from a distance now that the Sabbath was over.
In the morning, Jesus left the town for a deserted place where he could think and pray. People came from the town begging him to return and to stay with them, but Jesus replied, "I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent" (Luke 4:43). He will not allow the town of Capernaum to keep him just for their own blessing. His mission is much wider than this and he must be about the Father's business.
Are we sometimes keen to keep Jesus to ourselves? We greatly value the blessings he has brought us and we would dearly like nothing better than to bask in the comfort of them. We want to shut the rest of the world out and to enjoy time alone with Jesus. But Jesus will not permit it. He will not allow us to keep him for ourselves. He has others who must hear of him and others whom he purposes to bless. He is determined to go and get on with the job the Father has given him to do – and he plans that we should join him in the task.
As Jesus taught the crowds who gathered around him on the shore of the lake they pressed forward and would, perhaps, have driven him into the water. But Jesus got into Simon’s boat and taught them seated a few yards out from shore. When he had finished his teaching he told Simon to put out into deeper water and throw out his nets for a catch. Peter had fished all night and caught nothing; it was even less likely he will catch anything during the day. But because it is Jesus who has told him to fish, he does so. And the result is an enormous catch. Peter is amazed and, like the congregation in the synagogue, he realises that this man’s words have supernatural power. Peter, convicted of his own lack of faith, cries out, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8). But Jesus tells him “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people” (5:10).
The first disciples left their fishing to follow Jesus. They would not wait for the day when he would return to their village that he might bless them again. They heard his call to join him in proclaiming the good news of the kingdom to others – they heard his call to become fishers of people – and they followed him. They knew that Jesus’ words carried power and they trusted that, as he had enabled them to fill their nets to breaking point, so he would empower them to draw countless people into his kingdom.
This is why he was sent. This is why he has called us to follow him. Are we ready to go beyond keeping Jesus to ourselves and to “cast out our nets” and draw others to him?
Lord Jesus, I am so aware of my own weakness and of the many ways in which I fall short of all that I should be; I am a sinful man. Help me to hear afresh your words to me today, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” Fill me with your Spirit that my life and witness may draw others to you.