Simon does a favor for Jesus with his fishing boat, then experiences the catch of a lifetime, then leaves everything and follows Jesus, in Luke 5:1-11, the text we are studying for Sunday, January 10. [Some notes on the text are here.] Here are some questions we might want to think about:
When we read this story, do we have something in our minds about the relationship Jesus and Simon have at the beginning of the story? What about the relationship between Jesus and James and John?
What relationship is that? How would we describe it?
How does the relationship seem to change from the beginning of the story to the end?
This amounts to the question: What do we think happens in the story? Why do we think that?
[I think it might be worth our while to pay some attention to what we’re getting from the text, and what we’re bringing to the text, either from our own experience, our own sense of storytelling, or whatever … And then we may want to look at whether we have more than one impression of this story, and what difference that seems to make for us.]
What is the importance of the amazing catch of fish in the story? That is: Does the catch mean something, do we think? What? Does it “do” something, make something happen? What? Does it tell us anything about any of the characters – about Jesus, about Simon, about James and John? What?
Do we think the catch would have had any practical significance? What would that have been?
In a sense, the fishing boat on the lake is Simon’s workplace. If we think of our own workplace, can we think of an analogous event there that would have a similar impact or significance as this catch? What would that be, and what would our response to it be, do we think? Does that shed any light on the meaning of the story for us? What light?
How do we understand Simon Peter’s reaction in verse 8?
[More personal] How is our own reaction to Jesus like Simon Peter’s? How is it different?
How do we understand Jesus’s response to it in verse 10? Do we understand this as a “call”? How would we describe it?
In verse 11, Simon, James and John “left everything and followed him.” Would we call that “a model for discipleship”? Why? Would we call it “the model”? Why?
What does it mean to “leave everything”? Is there more than one way to “leave everything,” do we think? [For instance: would there be a difference between “leaving everything” in the care of some other responsible person, leaving everything because it didn’t seem important any longer, …] Does that matter, do we think? Why?
Overall, we might want to spend some time thinking about the fact that this is first of all a really specific story about Simon, and James and John. We could think about what we can do with such a specific story – that is, when we think about this story, do we think about it as a story about people who are special and different from us, who we now need to think of in a special way? Or do we think of it as a story about people who are like us in some way? Is it any kind of example or model for us? How? Are there some general truths or principles embedded in this story? And so on …