There are two stories that follow each other in Luke chapter 5 that I discovered have a unique Bravester connection to each other. The first story is one of the disciples first experiences with Jesus:
One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon (Peter), its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there.When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”
“Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking. Luke 5:1-7.
Very interestingly Simon Peter has this response to Jesus: When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man.” (Luke 5:8).
Peter’s first response is how unworthy he is to have a good thing happen to him.
Immediately following this story is one about a leper being healed: In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. “Lord,” he said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. Luke 5:12-13.
Then here we have a leper. A sick man who has been ostracized from his family and society. Not Peter who has been chosen to follow Jesus, to be on the inside. And this leper dares to approach Jesus and asked to be healed. Dares. How brave.
Jesus’ response is “I am willing.” Jesus was willing to do this good thing. This leper, despite his life conditions still knew that he was worthy of something good happening to him. He saw an opportunity with Jesus approaching and he took it because he knew that something good could happen to him.
Such a difference between Peter and this leper. What is the difference? Knowing your worthiness and living in that worthiness.
Where does that worthiness come from? From this truth (that is upside down to us because we think we are centric in this relationship with God): You may believe that you believe in God but the relationship starts because it is God who believes in you. Every morning when that sun rises and you also get to rise–that is God saying He believes in you. That He is still holding on to you. That you are worthy of another day of life. You were enough the minute you were born and despite all of the dumb things you have done that has not changed because it is still God giving you another day of life.
You are worthy of good things happening to you.
When Jesus came and put on human skin to show us God’s love, this is the truth he was living out for us. We were enough the minute we were born. The minute God gave us another day of life.
Jesus’ demonstrated this upside down truth at his own baptism. Before Jesus did any of the great miracles or did any of the great teaching or forgave anyone of their sins, Jesus was baptized. At that moment of baptism the sky split, the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove came out of heaven towards the human god Jesus and the voice of the Father (the trinity was present) spoke and said “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” (Matthew 3:17.) Before Jesus did anything but live, the worthiness was already there.
This is where we start our lives. How we understand this is how we approach the rest of our lives.
You are worthy of good things happening to you. Undeserved things. Things you didn’t have to strive for. Things you didn’t have to gain because you controlled the outcome.
I wrote this discovery of the two stories in Luke 5 first to my son, the one doing a long-term prison sentence. The discovery of these stories being connected came on the same day that he told us that he had earned a prison transfer into a humane prison. Finally. It only took 18 years. And something good happened to him!
He wrote in response:
To answer your question as to why I always had hard time. Like you said for the most part it was me. It was me and it was justice. I know I can’t live with anger and hate, its contrary to living. God didn’t put us here for that. If God let’s me continue living then that means I am worthy. I have come a long way in these past few years.
There is that upside down truth—unprompted from me (but maybe influenced by me).
This truth is for you too. You are worthy of good things happening to you.
(The conversation with Kenneth continues here.)
(photo credit: Pixabay.com)