What does it mean to be disciples of Jesus? (Third part)

In the broadest sense, discipleship is possible at all because of the gracious intervention of God in human affairs. More narrowly, Luke portrays Jesus as going to people and calling them to join him in discipleship (5:1-11, 27; 9:59; 18:22). 

Compared to the portrayal of disciple-calling in the Gospel of Mark, Luke’s understanding is less spectacular. In Mark, Jesus issues his command, “Follow me!”, without warning, with no previous interaction. Luke, on the other hand, locates the call to discipleship more fully in the context of Jesus’ ongoing mission in an area. It is after having already healed Simon’s mother-in-law (4:38-39) and instructing Simon in his vocation as a fisherman that Jesus heralds Simon’s change of vocation: “From now on you will be catching people!” (5:1-11).

Jesus’ initiative is nonetheless arresting in its inclusiveness. He crosses socio-religious boundaries to call a self-proclaimed “sinner” (5:8) and a toll-collector (5:27), and even counts women among his disciples (8:2-3) (to be continued) (From Joel B. Green, The Theology of the Gospel of Luke, pag. 106).

The Jesus’ calling to discipleship doesn’t keep out anybody, because Jesus calls everyone to become his disciple. It doesn’t matter if you are a sinner – because all of us are sinners – rich, poor, or whatever else. God requires just two things: to be humble in front of him and to be ready to recognize the signs of his love in your life. 

Simone Venturini


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