Saturday, January 28, 2012

Luke, Chapter 5: The Compleat Angler

Jesus is preaching by a lake. Behind him, some fishermen are cleaning their nets. For some reason, he decides to board one of the boats and ask the captain, Simon, to head out into the lake a bit so he can continue his sermon, even though he's busy cleaning his nets. When he finishes speaking, he tells Simon to let down his nets. Simon reports that the fishing has been poor recently, but does it anyway. When he hauls the net back in, there are so many fish, the net breaks. Well, a lot of fish, plus Jesus didn't let them finish repairing it. Simon, now suddenly Simon Peter calls out to his business partners, James and John, to join the massive haul, which nearly sinks their boats. The three of them decide to give up fishing and become full-time missionaries.

As they're walking, a leper comes up and Jesus heals him. He swears him to secrecy, telling him only to tell the priest. But of course word gets out and soon thousands of people are mobbing him everywhere he goes, so he retreats into the wilderness.

When he gets back, the Pharisees have heard of him, and they sit at the edge of the crowd, watching the goings-on. A paralysed man in a bed is brought to him. Jesus forgives his sins, and he's able to walk. The Pharisees start grumbling that only god can forgive sins, and Jesus pretends he's psychic and tells them he does, in fact, have the authority to forgive sins.

As our company is leaving the city, Jesus notices Levi the tax collector sitting in his tollbooth. Because the Romans have never done anything for them, he convinces Levi to follow him by going home and cooking for them. The Pharisees don't like that either, but Jesus points out that the righteous don't need him. They point out that John's followers fast, but Jesus is feasting. Jesus compares his message to that of a wedding, where you're expected to eat, drink and be merry, not be all austere and dull. Besides, he points out, he'll be dead soon, and then people will fast and mourn. Then he repeats the parables about patching old garments with new cloth and putting new wine into used bottles.

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