procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Monday, March 19, 2007

r.e. riddle

i was very encouraged reading this passage, as i prepared for my scripture class this morning:
Luke 5:1-11 On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon's, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.

as i am apt to do, i was trying to see what john had to say about this event, when i chanced upon this:
John 1:40-42 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).

Painting by Sarah Snazell (1965-1999)

now, it's quite likely that the "they" in luke's account refers to simon peter and andrew, as luke attests (6:14) that they are indeed brothers.
but any attempt to reconcile the two as the one event is quite impossible.
the lucan account makes it quite clear that, just as jesus sought them out, so should they seek others. john wants to make it explicit that, if you seek jesus, you will find him - 1:38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, "What are you seeking?"

looking at mark (1:16) and matthew's (4:18) almost identical accounts, notable perhaps only for the insistence that the brothers were fishermen through and through, the two options of embellishment by john and luke, or simplification by matthew and mark leap out.

i guess it could well be that both events were relating to true instances of disciples being called, the identity being added as luke and john saw fit (think thucydides' approach); the important point being not the disciples, but jesus, and how he chooses his followers: some knock at his door, seeking him earnestly. others (c/f paul) are chosen, almost despite themselves.

the distinct difference of these approaches, regardless of the solution, beg the question: which are you?

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