Reversal of Values

People talked less about politics on Sunday morning’s zoom calls than you might have guessed.

Mostly we talked about the Bible.

So come to think of it, I guess you could say we mostly did talk about politics. The Bible is an intensely political document, in the root sense of that word, as having to do with how people live together and make decisions, rather than the contemporary red-blue partisan sense.

One of the big events of Luke 5:1-11 is that miraculous catch of fish. And one of the members of the not-that-early Bible study class asked, right off the bat, “What happened to the fish?”


At first that might not sound like a useful exegetical question, but honestly, I think it took us right to the heart of the text. Those fishing boats and that lake were those guys’ workplace. They were at work. Trying to put bread on the table. The night hadn’t gone well at all. They could have been thinking about their negative cash flow that morning.

And then, all of a sudden, they have their hands on a windfall (so to speak). Imagine how much profit that catch had to represent.

What would any of us do if we suddenly had our hands on a bumper crop … a massive bonus … some serious money?

Someone said “bigger barns …”

Which is, as we know, another story told in Luke’s gospel .

Rejoicing in their good fortune would have been an option. Simon et al. could have said “Praise Jesus!!” and claimed that blessing and been very grateful each and every day thereafter for God’s awesome favor.

They didn’t do that.

We decided it was probably no coincidence that it was Luke, the evangelist who quotes Jesus as saying “blessed are you who are poor,” and who tells the story of the rich man and Lazarus, who reminds us that when those disciples left everything to follow Jesus, they actually had something to lose; they were turning their backs on some amazing material success, and setting their faces towards God only knew exactly what, but clearly not that kind of blessedness. Whatever Jesus offered them, it was more important than that, more valuable than that.

That reversal of values really is one of Luke’s main points.

And if that isn’t political, I don’t know what is.
red line embellished

Image: “The Miraculous Draught of Fishes,” Jacopo Bassano, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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