Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 1 Study # 6
February 25, 2007
10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.
11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.
1901 ASV Translation:
10 and so were also James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.
11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left all, and followed him.
- I. The Kingdom Task.
- A. The promise.
- 1. This was not a command.
- 2. This was a "heartening" promise. It was addressed to a man who was an emotional wreck because of his sinfulness.
- a. As such, it "fit" the Kingdom agenda of "others above all".
- b. As such, it laid down the foundations of the "Life" as an effort to impart to those who are dead in their sins a hope of reconciliation.
- B. The requisite activities.
- 1. Returning to the land.
- a. The record requires this brief comment: "having brought the boats down to the land..." (Luke would not have said it if it were not necessary).
- b. The question is: Why?
- 1) It is a "theological fact" that God spent 1500 years of human history providing a basis for a clear understanding of His promise to Abram of a "land". God made a covenant with the nation of Abraham's descendents that had an obvious fixation upon "land" issues.
- a) The "land" promise was given to Abram because he was made of the dust of the "land" and his physical well-being depended upon having access to the production of the land. Physical health and life is absolutely dependent upon the transferral of the nutrients in the "land" to the flesh and blood of the human body. Even in the Revelation of the coming Heavens and Earth, there is a "fruit" that is essential to the "health" of the nations (Revelation 22:2).
- b) That "land" promise required its heirs to be "in the land" in order for the benefits to accrue to them. Outside of the land, all manner of life-destroying things would happen. The ultimate display of God's displeasure with His people in light of the covenant was their eviction from the land. This had the shadows of the eviction from Eden written all over it as well as the destruction of the great flood when all men (but eight) were forcibly removed from "the land".
- 2) It is a "grammatical fact" that of the ten uses of the word Luke chose to use to describe the action of the disciples, nine are found in Luke's writings. This indicates a deliberate intention to "push" the meaning of the word. It seems to have a significant emphasis upon the issue of "dominion over" (in the active voice, someone is in control of the object being "brought" and in the passive voice, someone is always "being brought"). Luke seems, therefore, to intend to indicate that the disciples' intention was to "land the boats" as if that was not something the boats would have chosen had they been able to choose. It is almost as if the boats know that their owners are going to abandon them and they are resisting that scenario.
- 3) It is a "contextual fact" that Luke has deliberately inserted the issue of the Lake of Gennesaret into his record. The more typical terminology, always used by the other writers of the New Testament, was "the Sea of Galilee". That Gennesaret was the epitomy of the "land" promise made by God to the nation cannot be a simple coincidence.
- 4) The "new Life" that consisted in "catching men" was going to be pursued upon "land".
- 5) So we conclude that Luke is building a picture of men "returning to the land" so that they may embark upon the "provisioned Life" which God has promised to them. In the light of the fact that God had not yet abandoned the "land" focus in His dealings with men, it is instructive that those who would be disciples of Jesus had to be drawn into the requisites of the land covenant before they could function properly. The fact is that no one can be a disciple of Jesus who is attempting to push his agenda upon the Kingdom rather than submitting to the agenda of the Kingdom.
- 2. Forsaking all.
- a. When "forsaking" is a "material" reality, it is not hard to see. When Jesus was on this earth, calling for disciples to follow Him, it was easy to see who was and who was not.
- b. But, these days, Jesus is not on the earth. He is, however, still calling for disciples. However, it is no longer easy to see who is "following" and who is not. The "form of godliness" without the "power thereof" is exceedingly deceptive.
- c. The bottom line is not hard: no one is a disciple of Jesus who simply seeks His stamp of approval on his pursuit of his own lusts. Without a legitimate denial of self and a genuine taking up of the cross, there is no real following.
- C. The following...
- 1. Began at the physical level. In that setting, one either went where Jesus went or not.
- 2. Was to proceed into the spiritual/emotional levels so that the character of the One being followed began to show up in those who were following.