My good friend, Bill, is something of a Greek god. By that, I don't mean that he's tall, dark, and handsome (and I don't mean that he isn't), instead, I mean that he is really good with Biblical Greek. Having given me, a Greek tragedy, props for yesterday's live-catching post, he pointed out on facebook two things that I had missed even in the English.
Bill M. - The things I love about Luke's story is Peter's sarcasm on fishing on the other side of the boat. But I love that Jesus effectively destroys their livelihood (the boats are swamped, the nets torn) and THEN invites them to something new and different.
Bill has been known to say that we need a "sarcasm font" and I'm apt to agree with him. How much easier would exegesis be if we were able to read the sarcasm the right way? Who else but Simon Peter could say to the Lord, "whatever you say" and get away with it?
But what I love, and I'm thankful to bill for pointing out is that Jesus really does destroy everything Simon Peter, James, and John knew. Their nets are tattered and the boats on the verge of sinking, and now Jesus says, "c'mon and follow me."
It reminds me of the version of the St. Francis story that my former bishop, Michael Creighton told. According to Bishop Mike, Francis' father, fearful of what this new life as a devout Christian would mean for his son, took away everything he had; his money, his housing, even his clothes, and it was only after that even that Francis took his vow of voluntary poverty. Knowing that version doesn't make his life any less exemplary. Whether he gave it all up or had it all taken from him, matters not, it is what he did after it was all gone that matters.
So too with the first disciples. Did Jesus call them to follow while their nets were still full of fish? Or did he wait until all that was left were some tattered nets and sinking boats? Either way, it is that they left to follow him that matters.
This weekend, we pray that God would set us free from the bondage of our sins, which sounds a lot more like, take stuff away, leave my life tattered and sinking than it does, allow me to give it all up for you. Either way, however, it is the fact that we follow him that matters; how you get there, that's up to you.