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The Bible In A Year: Day 77

Deuteronomy 4
Psalm 75-76
Luke 5:1-32

Deuteronomy 4

Moses calls on the people to be obedient to God. He reminds them of what happened to the people along this journey who turned away and worshiped other gods, and he even reminds them that when God appeared on Mount Sinai and the people seen the smoke and fire, and even heard his voice, they didn’t see any image or shape of God. This was so they wouldn’t make that an idol and worship it, like he wants them not to worship the stars and created world around them.

He even goes as far as to remind them that the Lord was mad at him because of them, and that’s why he’ll also die before entering the land promised to them and their ancestors. Moses warns them against turning their backs on God, and gives a prophecy of what would happen, they’d be destroyed and scattered among the gentiles. This eventually does happen when the people go after other gods.

He tells the people that never before and never again will God take a nation of people unto himself to be a set apart people for his purposes. That purpose we know was to incubate a culture into which the messiah would incarnate.

Luke 5:1-32

Luke’s account of the calling of the apostles is slightly different from the other Gospels. In Matthew and Mark, Jesus is just strolling by and sees Peter and Andrew at the seashore, and he calls to them to follow him. In John it’s Andrew who went to his brother Peter to tell him that they’ve found the messiah, so when Jesus runs into them he calls them to follow.

In Luke’s gospel, Jesus gets into Peter’s boat to preach to the crowds and afterwards he tells Peter to cast his net into the water, even though they’ve fished all night with nothing to show for it, but Peter says he will try because Jesus is asking him to, and when they catch a huge net full of fish Peter falls at Jesus’ feet. It’s then that Jesus calls Peter and Andrew to follow him.

So how can the four gospels have four different accounts of the calling of Peter and Andrew? Perhaps Luke’s gospel captures it the closest to what happened. It seems that Peter already knew Jesus, because according to Luke’s account, Jesus had already somewhat established a base in the same small town as Peter, and he had already healed his mother-in-law. I

If I had to make a composite of the three variants that are told across the four gospels I’d say that Andrew, who was a disciple of John the Baptist, returned to his brother and told him about Jesus. Then Jesus comes to Capernaum and Peter has some exposure to this man that his brother had told him about, so then it makes sense that he’d allow this traveling preacher to get into his boat to deliver a message to the people on the shore, and also based on Andrew’s testimony about him, Peter agrees to listen to him and cast his nets again. This all culminates in Peter realizing, although not as fully as he would later, that this is a very holy man whose presence he is in, and he falls down and confesses his sinfulness to him. It’s after these events that Peter is called to follow him.

So it’s not that any of the gospels get it wrong, even though they tell stories that seems different even though it’s the same event, it’s just the same as you asking 4 eyewitnesses to describe the events that led up to the car crash and they’ll all see things from different perspectives and stress certain details while possibly omitting others. They all tell the same story, they just viewed the events for, different angles.

Peter’s confession of his sinfulness is the extra detail that really stands out in Luke’s account. It’s reminiscent of Moses falling in his face in front of the burning bush and of Isaiah falling down in the throne room of God. Peter’s greatest asset was always his humility and how relatable he is to us all. He wasn’t a perfect person, but he was more than willing to throw himself at the feet of Christ.

Faced with God’s fascinating and mysterious presence, man discovers his own insignificance. Before the burning bush, Moses takes off his sandals and veils his face in the presence of God’s holiness. Before the glory of the thrice-holy God, Isaiah cries out: “Woe is me! I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips.” Before the divine signs wrought by Jesus, Peter exclaims: “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” But because God is holy, he can forgive the man who realizes that he is a sinner before him: “I will not execute my fierce anger. . . for I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst.” The apostle John says likewise: “We shall. . . reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.”

CCC 208

Jesus then moves on with his new disciples in tow, and on the way he comes across a man with leprosy. The man shows faith in Jesus by saying he could heal him if he only willed it to be so, but Jesus does more than that. He says he does will it, and reached out and touched the man. Now we know from all the chapters in Leviticus about how stringent the ceremonial law was in regards to leprosy, but when Jesus touched him he wasn’t concerned about being unclean, because his perfection flowed into the man instead of his uncleanliness affecting Jesus. Just like the woman who was hemorrhaging for years didnt “contaminate” Jesus with uncleanliness, but he cleansed her body and would just by a touch.

The we hear the story of Jesus, who’s healing all these people and preaching a message of deliverance and repentance, when friends of a man that’s paralyzed can’t get close enough for them to bring their friend inside the house, so they go on the roof and hack a hole in it to lower him down. Jesus tells him that his sins are forgiven, and this causes the doubters to question how he can forgive sins, because that’s up to God alone. Jesus then tells them that he said that to get their attention essentially, and he then heals the man. T

his is him implicitly telling them that they are right, only God can forgive sins, but he just forgave them anyway and the healing was just a sign of that. So if they put these two things together they’d realize that’s exactly who he is.

Our readings today close out with the calling of Saint Matthew. Jesus calls him, named Levi in this passage, to follow him and this is scandalous to the Pharisees, because tax collectors were worse than any other category of sinner in their eyes. These people were collaborating with the brutal occupation of their land, and they were dishonest cheats on top of that. But Jesus tells them that forgiveness isn’t limited to the holy and pious.

Jesus came to call the lost sheep, he came to heal the sick and mend the broken, he came to call sinners to repentance and for everyone to follow him. The most holy person you know, or have even just heard of, is still a sinner that Christ died for. Nobody is perfect, and those that think Christ’s love is undeserved by “those people” are the ones that need a conversion of heart the most.

Tomorrow’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 5-6
Psalm 77
Luke 5:33-6:5

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