Luke 5:11 “And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.”
I’ve been thinking on Luke 5 for the past week, preparing a bit for an upcoming family camp on the life of Peter. This verse, in particular, has struck me.
This verse is the summary of Peter’s, James’ and John’s response to the call of Christ.
There they were, set for life. They knew who they were – fishermen. They had a steady job. They had partners and families. They had an identity.
And Jesus came and turned that identity upside down. “Get away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” Peter exclaims. Knowing who he was, and then understanding that Jesus was calling him, Peter gladly dropped all he was to follow.
The way that Jesus enters the life of Peter is a longer subject. What I’ve been marveling at here in v.11 is the response that Jesus provokes in the ones who respond to the call.
They don’t need whipping. They don’t need another check on the radical commitment of the Christian. They don’t get a rulebook on what they need to do to follow Jesus.
Rather, the sign of the changed life of these men is that they “left everything and followed him.”
As I reflect on my own life and the lives of others I know who are Jesus followers, this is the radical heart-change of brokenness and Jesus-focus that He has brought about in them, too. To His glory and by His work.
The wondrous reality of a life invaded by God is that He’s utterly worth following. He has changed our identities forever, from electricians and mechanics and doctors and housewives, from husbands and fathers and wives and daughters, from honor student and musician and pauper and millionaire… to abject sinner. To adopted child. To follower of Him. To eternal worshiper.
This response in Luke 5:11 is the glad response of a changed heart.
I suppose I could stop here and ask, “Christian, do you have this all-encompassing changed heart?” or “Christian, here are four commands to make sure that you are following Jesus rightly.” But don’t you see that such questions miss the point? If the answer is “no,” then you’re not a Christian. If you’re whipping yourself to show you’re following, maybe you need the essential life-alteration of the risen Christ.
Perhaps you need Peter’s perspective, seeing his own sinfulness then joyfully discovering that Christ wants him nonetheless (and not just wants him, but will die for him).
Our response to the incarnate God who has invaded our lives is such a radical identity shift, that we will lay down our own rights, our own desires for self-justice, for self-worth, for self-fulfillment… and run after the only one who really saves.
Praise to our Savior, our blessed hope… may we joyfully follow Him forever, because like Peter, we’ve found grace.