This post is part of a 9-part series called Extraordinary Pastor, Ordinary Follower of Jesus. You can watch the introduction video here.
Part 3 – Jesus Assembles His Team
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, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. – Luke 5:1-3
The context in Luke:
- Jesus had begun his ministry; he had been baptized (3:21ff); he was tempted (4:1ff); he had been rejected in his hometown (4:14ff); and had begun his teaching and healing ministry (4:31ff). Jesus was already drawing impressive crowds. The time had come for him to assemble his team. He had taken time to pray, all night, alone and now he was ready to call his first disciples.
The Historical circumstance
- This passage takes place in Gennesaret which was a fertile, heavily populated region at the northwest corner of the Sea of Galilee. It was probably morning because the fishermen were washing their nets. The nets would also be hung up to dry. This suggests that they were using drag nets which were used at night in deep water. Morning represented the end of their shift. The equivalent for us would be like the end of the day, locking up, turning out the lights, and packing away your laptop. The crowds around Jesus were so thick that they were backing him right up to the water’s edge. He was trying to teach, and people were straining to hear so they were pressing in on him. The acoustics get worse when people are pressing in and not spread out. So, he needed a different plan. One of the things Luke wants us to see here is the already huge public impact of Jesus’ ministry.
The people involved
- Simon (Peter) was the owner of this business. Some of you may own your own business or even side hustle, so you can relate. Jesus saw leadership potential in him and decided he would invite him to use it to advance a different kingdom.The fact that there were at least 2 boats tells us that Peter was running a very successful business. Many career fisherman would fish from shore during the day because they couldn’t afford a boat. This was a commercial operation. Jesus decided to use one of the boats as a pulpit. He adopted the sitting position which was the expected posture of a rabbi in that day. Maybe Peter thought he owed Jesus a favor since Jesus had just healed his mother-in-law (4:38-39)!
- Jesus had already established his own ministry and then invited the disciples to join him. We would be wise to follow the same pattern. Many Christians today try to do their own thing and then invite Jesus to join them. Instead of discovering what Jesus is up to and then joining him. The disciples had already witnessed both his teaching and healing. Jesus had already begun his encounter with Peter. And it started by requesting his assistance (Jn 4:7 “will you give me a drink?”) This was a common practice for Jesus. He often put himself in a position of vulnerability before demonstrating his power.
All of these details were leading to the point where Jesus would invite his disciples to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. This passage explains to us Jesus’ mission and who qualifies to participate in it. From this point forward, Luke 5 demonstrates a pattern for how Jesus includes ordinary people in his adventure, and it provides a blueprint for us in how to follow him.