We read the bible. We study it. We pray for understanding of what God the Father is telling us or what Jesus’ parables meant.
What do those stories from so long ago mean? As I sit drinking a cup of coffee in my upstair study, how do I relate with fishermen from the first century? They got their hands dirty.
Do we pray with dirty hands?
Jesus said to these fishermen to drop their nets and become fishers of men. And they did, because they followed Him out of faith.
First of all, I can’t even begin to imagine what that would be like. There is much in the bible that we can’t imagine what it was like, especially with 2,000 years (and for most, thousands of miles) separating us from those events. Aching feet. Walking days, only to be hated.
Furthermore, there are so many beautiful play on words that Jesus used that are lost today because we don’t get our hands dirty enough in the Word of God.
Therefore, take a step back and think from their point of view for a moment.
The apostles prayed with dirty hands. Jesus also prayed with dirty hands. He was someone who was working with His hands. A carpenter.
And He chose people who worked with their hands, like fishermen. Jesus is a master story teller. And we know this from the parables he told during his ministry in Israel. During one parable he said,
And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.. – Matthew 17:20
That’s a great word picture, sure. But just imagine something different. As part of our daily time to pray and study scripture, spend some of that time learning about the context. And think, also, about their the taste and smell of that day.
Imagine you are not far from the Sea of Galilee. A slight wind. Mustard plants all around you in this lush northern part of the land. And you can see the massive mountains climbing out of the hillside, stretching into the distance.
So picture Jesus plucking off the yellow flowers of the mustard plant. See him twisting it in his hand as he motioned towards those massive mountains to the north. The hands of someone was a common man of a carpenter, yet not common at all. Yet those around Him did not know that yet.
He was there. Doing that. And the mustard plants are there to this day, and it shows how Jesus would walk with his disciples, arriving at some location. Almost by accident. So we find out, He would arrive at this place as part of His perfect plan. So He could tell that parable to those around Him using those vivid word pictures.
And same was true with the fig tree that they walked past on their way into Jerusalem, then again later on.
So point is that if we remove ourselves from our current time, our current place. Instead, we see Jesus talking to people in this real location, this real place. And studying your understanding of the bible, we can see how Jesus’ words had so much more meaning. Therefore we to study scripture a bit more in depth. And we pray to Him to open our eyes.
We can see that He got His hands dirty teaching people about the Kingdom of God.
Too often we can get complacent in our daily life. We drink our coffee or tea as we scroll from story to story on our phones. We will pray, possibly, if we remember, before going to bed. Or worse, we pray only at church on Sunday morning.
Let’s not forget that Jesus was spending His time out there. In the world. Getting His hands dirty talking with people, telling them about the Kingdom of God. And he would pray so hard he wept.
He would spend time telling them of His love for them. He would tell them of their sins and how that would separate them from Him forever. And then He would tell them of His plan to save through faith in Him. He would pray for them and He would teach them.
Therefore, let’s get our hands dirty and go out there. Don’t just say “thoughts and prayers.” When we show our sins (instead of hiding them) and repent, God washes us clean.
Let us pray with people right then and there. And use analogies of things around us to talk with the people around us about Christ. And tell them about the Kingdom of God.
Hi. I'm Scott Sullivan, a slave of Christ and husband to my awesome wife Angie. I'm an artist and writer,
living in the beautiful countryside of Lancaster, Pa.