Reading for Friday, March 9: Luke 5
In chapter 5, we find the ministry of Jesus growing as people begin to catch wind of His teaching and His miraculous ability to heal. As people continue to come to Jesus, we see Him taking the time to cultivate His relationship with God. “But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray,” (v16). Prayer seems to be the fuel that propels Jesus forward in His ministry and, more importantly, through His life. And prayer holds the key to our own spiritual formation. Whether He’s being tempted in the wilderness or surrounded by people singing His praises and seeking His healing, Jesus is fed by Scripture and fueled by prayer. This is our template for spiritual formation.
Jesus calls disciples to Him with the most challenging words in all Scripture: “Follow me.” Following Jesus is certainly not for the faint of heart. As Jesus will teach elsewhere, those who would take up their cross and follow Him should first count the cost. For these fishermen, they leave behind their livelihood and their economic security to follow Jesus — leaving their boats on the shore (v11), even on the heels of the economic boon of this tremendous catch. This is a time for reinvestment in the business! A time to diversify and expand! And yet these men forsake it all to follow this Teacher. The same holds true for Levi, who leaves behind his former life, his former friends, his former identity as a swindler and a thief to join the ranks of the pious. Even these lepers and paralytics are representations of the new life God’s Kingdom brings. This is the kind of work Jesus brings to our lives.
And we sit back and make the same confession we find in v26: “And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”