Gospel of Luke
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Gospel of Luke Chapter 5:1-16 Summary
Jesus Gets Followers
- Back in Galilee, Jesus teaches sizeable crowds while standing on the shore of the lake of Gennesaret. Matthew and Mark call it "the Sea of Galilee" but Gennesaret is fun to say. Plus, "lake" is a much more accurate translation than "sea."
- Jesus sees two docked boats and fishermen washing their nets.
- Jesus boards Simon's boat and requests that Simon push off into the water a bit, so Jesus can teach the crowds on the shore while sitting in the boat. Interesting request, Jesus.
- After finishing class, Jesus asks Simon to boat into deeper water and lower his nets again.
- Simon doubts that they will catch anything, but he addresses Jesus as "Master" (5:5) and is not about to ignore his advice. After all, this is the guy who cured his mother-in-law (recall 4:38).
- Guess what happens? That's right, they catch so many fish that their nets start to tear.
- They gesture to their fishing partners in another boat for assistance. Suddenly, both boats are filled with so many fish that they start to sink.
- Simon (a.k.a. Peter) falls to Jesus's feet and mopes about how lowly he is compared to Jesus.
- Everyone's just shocked. And by the way, James and John were Simon's fishing partners in the other boat.
- Jesus responds, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people" (5:10). Um, creepy?
- They dock their boats, leave everything, and follow Jesus. Yep—that's it for the fishing adventure.
- While in one of the cities, a man with leprosy falls down before Jesus and begs him to cleanse him.
- Following his customary healing procedures, Jesus touches him and—voilà—he's cured. Jesus's willingness to touch a person suffering from leprosy is significant. After all, the Torah explicitly forbids contact with such persons. Got a few minutes and a Red Bull? Go read all the laws governing the treatment of leprosy in Leviticus 13-14.
- Jesus commands the man not to tell anyone, but to play it cool and do what he's supposed to do according to Moses: show the priest, make the requisite offerings, and do whatever else there is for his purification.
- Apparently someone has a big mouth, though. Word spreads, and Jesus is officially going viral. Everyone wants to be cured.
- But Jesus withdraws into the wilderness where he prays.