Jesus' gathering of disciples was not unusual in his time and Jewish setting. Many rabbis would gather students around them to teach Torah. But the kind of disciples Jesus gathers is unusual—they are not theological professionals. Fishermen, tax collectors, former revolutionaries and just plain old sinners make up this new community. Jesus launches them on a journey with God, a walk in which God begins to work in their lives. The lesson is that we need not be perfect to come to God; rather, we need to trust God and let him do his gracious work in transforming our lives.
The various "call scenes" that appear in this section underline the nature of the new community (5:1-11, 27-39; 6:12-16). It does not shun sinners, but invites them to come and meet God and his healing forgiveness. Even the miracles of this section show how much Jesus identifies with those he gathers to himself. These unusual events underline the authority he has in creating this new band of followers (5:12-16, 17-26; 6:1-5, 6-11).
The gathering of this unorthodox group of followers and the practices they engage in heighten opposition. Jesus' ways are not the ways of the Jewish leadership, nor are they the ways of a self-righteous elitism. He attracts those who know that they need God and that Jesus has the authority to forgive their sin (5:24, 31-32).
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
Want to get the most out of Bible Gateway? Find out why Bible Gateway Plus is the ultimate toolkit for anyone seeking to grow closer to the Word. For less than the cost of a latte, Plus membership gives you access to a complete digital Bible study library and reduced banner ads. Try it free for 30 days!