Luke Chapter Five – Jesus’ First Disciples
Soon after Jesus began his earthly ministry, Jesus went out to find some people who would follow him. One would think that Jesus would choose his followers from among the elite scholars. After all, shouldn’t the king of kings have an elite group of close followers? However, Jesus did not go that route. Instead, we see in Luke chapter five, that Jesus chose the likes of fishermen and tax collectors to be his select, close followers. Fishermen had very little to no education, and they would have been close to no one’s first choice when starting a revolution. Tax collectors, on the other hand, had a poor reputation, as they often tried to cheat people out of their money. Therefore, tax collectors would have been close to no one’s first choice either. For whatever reason, Jesus chose this group to be his followers and to take over when he was to ascend to heaven.
A big part of Jesus’ ministry revolved around healing people of their ailments. In chapter five, Jesus heals both a leper and a paralytic. One would think that after Jesus got done healing people, he would want them to go tell everybody of the great miracle. However, the opposite is true. Often after Jesus would heal somebody, he would tell them to tell no one! We see this in verse 14, as Jesus told the leper to tell no one. Now, why would Jesus not want others to share of the great wonders Jesus had done? The answer is because Jesus’ time to die had not yet come. Jesus still had much to accomplish before his death. If word had spread too much, they would have had him killed sooner.
After Jesus had called Levi, a tax collector, to be one of his disciples, Jesus went to eat with the tax collectors. This caused the Pharisees to grumble and ask Jesus why in the world he would eat with the sinful tax collectors. Jesus replies, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance,” (Luke 5:31). Here Jesus says that his target audience are the sinners rather than the righteous.
Too often in church, our focus is on the righteous rather than the sinners. We design our services, classes, and events for those that are churched and not unchurched. Perhaps we should consider the words of Jesus in Luke 5:31. Perhaps we should put our focus on the sinners, rather than the righteous. It is those who are lost and sinners that really need the church! Our churches should contain people who are not currently saved but are on the road to salvation. Jesus says it is these kinds of people that he came to call to repentance. Our target audience should reflect that of Jesus’ target audience. At the same time, we do need strong Christians within the church to bring up the unchurched. There is a healthy balance somewhere that we all must find.