Faithlife
Faithlife

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14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." 16 Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men." 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.
Introduction:
What would it take for you just to pick up and leave what you have? What would it take for you move somewhere or do something that you have never done before?
I think about the time when my Mom and step-dad made this type of decision. They had lived in the same small town, known the same people, watched children in that town grow up. They knew where they could get groceries, pay bills, buy a car, go for medical care and do all the daily things in life. They had retired in the community and lived an active life in the community.
For many years they had been snow-birds like so many other, coming down for about 5 months to their place over in Port Charlotte. Then they moved permanently to Florida purchasing a place here in Sebastian. For them it meant up-rooting their lives and starting over. It is not an easy transition for someone who was in their late seventies and mid-eighties. I admired them for having the courage to it.
Gospel Message:
Our message today is somewhat similar. It is the calling of the first disciples, Peter, Andrew, James and John. It is about Jesus calling them and inviting them to make a huge transition in their life by following Him. Accepting Jesus’ call to follow Him meant leaving the family business and the security they had. It meant leaving the village, their family, and all the support they had in their daily lives.
What we need to see is that during Jesus' time it was rare that one would leave the family business. It was rare that one would leave the town of his or her parents. It was a natural progression for one to work in the family business - generation after generation would continue and carry on the trade: Carpenters, fishermen, herdsmen, bakers, butchers....
So when we read today’s Gospel we find an anomaly. Jesus calls Peter and Andrew to follow Him and they do. They drop everything and follow Him. They were leaving behind family, friends, and a lucrative business.
Jesus begins his ministry:
Our message this morning first is about the establishment of Jesus’ ministry proclaiming the Kingdom of God. Jesus like John is preaching a message of repentance and calling the people to believe in the Gospel – the Good News of God’s Kingdom. And second it about an invitation to four fishermen to become his disciple. It would be an invitation that would change and transform their lives forever. It would be an invitation that would change lives throughout the known world and for centuries to follow. It would be an invitation through these four fishermen would stand the test of time and be just as valid of an invitation to you and me as it was to them over two thousand years ago.
Jesus’ ministry
Mark tells us, as do the other Gospel writers, Matthew, Luke and John, that Jesus ministry begins upon John arrest. It is only after John was arrested that it was time for Jesus’ ministry to begin in its fullest. When Jesus says the time is fulfilled - it is not just a time referring to a general reference like spring or winter or some other general reference. It is the divinely appointed time. It the time that is appointed by God. It the time for Jesus to act. As long as John was announcing the kingdom, Jesus could bide his time. But now it was God’s appointed time for His ministry to begin. It is fulfilling prophecy foretold by the prophet Daniel
ESV And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever,
God speaks to us in many ways. Most often we hear that he speaks to us through his still, small voice in the heart. But God also can also speak to us through a situation or event and that is what happened here. John was arrested and removed from the scene and this indicated it was the appointed time for Jesus to begin his ministry.
Jesus known in Galilee
And so we see Jesus preaching the Good News in Galilee. We see that Jesus was not an obscure person in the region nor was his message. In fact his message was just as forthright and to the point as John’s message. For like John, his message was one of repentance and the announcement of the "Good News" of God's kingdom. It was a message that not only called for the people to turn away from their political and social ideologies and it also was one that called them to turn back to a true loyalty to God. It was a message that called the people to reshape their intellectual and spiritual horizons. Jesus’ message was one that called for a both change of behavior and a change of the heart.
Jesus was not an unknown. He was known throughout the region. Which brings us quickly to the point that these disciple just dropped everything, we might get the impression that hadn’t heard of Jesus before and just dropped everything through the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I believe that the Holy Spirit did prompt them however I don’t think they were unaware of who Jesus was.
Last week we mentioned that Philip had gone to tell his brother Nathaniel they had found the one whom the prophets had foretold. It would not be the first time they had heard Jesus nor would they be unaware of what He was preaching and proclaiming. This would be however the time in which they acted… believing and following Him.
So as Mark and other writers of the Gospel tell us that as Jesus was walking along the shoreline of the Sea of Galilee he saw Peter and Andrew who were fishing and called to them and said:
NOTE THE NRSv DOES NOT INCLUDE BECOME
“Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left what they were doing and followed him.
Then walking a little further he saw James and John who were in their boat mending their nets and after Jesus called to them they immediately left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed Jesus.
Jesus was giving them an invitation to become part of God kingdom. It was an invitation that join a ministry to the people of God. It would be an invitation that would be a life changing event for them. They responded to the invitation wholeheartedly
His call and their willingness to immediately follow him was a radical departure from Jewish custom and expectations. By accepting they gave up much but little did they know at the outset how their acceptance of Jesus’ call would change the world. How little did they know their acceptance of the call would be felt over two thousand years later. How little did they know that by accepting Jesus’ call it would be felt by all of here today at St. Elizabeth’s.
But what did answering Jesus’ really cost the disciples? For some it might seem like it was easy choice to leave the life of fisherman and follow Jesus. What did they have to lose? In reality it was a lot.
Brothers were not poor. Fishing was a major industry and livelihood for the people in this area. The area was on the major trade route and was a major trading area. Fish from this area were caught, prepared, and preserved and sold as far away as Egypt. It was not a small minor industry. And these four, Peter, Andrew, James and John were not necessarily poor. In particular we read that James and John had a boat, they were working with their father and they had hired hands. These are all indictors they were not just poor fishermen were trying to eek out a living.
Making nets Ready They knew the business and they knew industry. When Jesus approaches them we find both James and John were repairing their nets. They knew the task that lay ahead of them and they were preparing for that task. They knew without proper preparation they would not be able to catch any fish and therefore not make any money.
Leaving meant more than just leaving their father with the hired hands. It meant leaving the family business which went against all customs of the time.
Leaving meant more than just leaving their father with the hired hands. It meant leaving the family business which went against all customs of the time.
Ready to response to call - Immediately And yet when Jesus calls Simon, Andrew, James and John they immediately left what they doing and followed him. For when Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James and John they immediately knew on the inside by the prompting of the Holy Spirit that this is what they had longed for; this was the fulfillment of their search.
A band of disciples And because they of their willing to follow Jesus’ call they would be the ones who would continue to do what Jesus had come to do and to give glory to God. For in them and through them the glory of God would continue to be manifest throughout the world. They continue to what Israel was suppose to do – to spread the Good News and invite all to come to the worship the God of glory. To tell the world about God’s reconciliation to Himself through His Son – Jesus.
`` A band of disciples And because they of their willing to follow Jesus’ call they would be the ones who would continue to do what Jesus had come to do and to give glory to God. For in them and through them the glory of God would continue to be manifest throughout the world. They continue to what Israel was suppose to do – to spread the Good News and invite all to come to the worship the God of glory. To tell the world about God’s reconciliation to Himself through His Son – Jesus.
A band of disciples And because they of their willing to follow Jesus’ call they would be the ones who would continue to do what Jesus had come to do and to give glory to God. For in them and through them the glory of God would continue to be manifest throughout the world. They continue to what Israel was suppose to do – to spread the Good News and invite all to come to the worship the God of glory. To tell the world about God’s reconciliation to Himself through His Son – Jesus.
Pentecost: Imagine what would have happened if Peter did not follow Jesus and yet he did and look at what happened at Pentecost.
The Apostle Paul - Jesus' calling What the disciples did I think is a model for all of us to follow. First they did not reduce what Jesus was proclaiming to some intellectual argument and nor can reduce discipleship to mere intellectual acquiescence. It demands more than lip service, more than attendance at worship and the functions of the church. It calls for action. And that is what the disciples did when they answered Jesus’ call – FOLLOW ME.
What the disciples did I think is a model for all of us to follow. First they did not reduce what Jesus was proclaiming to some intellectual argument and nor can reduce discipleship to mere intellectual acquiescence. It demands more than lip service, more than attendance at worship and the functions of the church. It calls for action. And that is what the disciples did when they answered Jesus’ call – FOLLOW ME.
It is a decision we all have to make whether we will follow Him or not. We have choice to make to believe or not; To trust or not to trust. Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom of God is near – repent and believe.
Dallas Willard uses this to illustrate the point. A rural area finally received electricity. Prior to that they had used ice boxes, rug beaters, washed by hand and used candles. Everyone received electricity had a lifestyle change. There was however one family who did not convert to electricity because they didn’t trust in the new things. What if it failed? So they stuck with the old ways.
For the disciples they had to trust and believe in Jesus. And we too have to trust and believe in Him that He is The Way – not a Way or one of many Ways. We have to trust and follow Him. We have to trust His proclamation of the Good News – the Kingdom of God in a hand – A kingdom as Daniel reminds us will never fail and last forever.
The second question that lingers is, What happens when I accept the call? How can I be effective? What is Jesus calling me to do? And it is a very valid question.
The disciples must have thought the same thing. But Jesus makes them a promise in his call. I will make you become fishers of men. I WILL MAKE YOU BECOME. I find this to be a wonderful promise because Jesus is the one who has committed to teach them how to become fishers of men.
Training of the Disciples
Come and follow me - become fishers of men - BECOME it is a verb that means – to begin - it is word that implies a training... Jesus was committed to teaching his disciples. It was not just that he wanted them to be around him - it was so that he could teach them so that when he was gone they could carry on the message of the Gospel - the Good News.
None of them would be overnight successes at what they did. In fact they would stumble along away, making a lot of mistakes and Jesus would the redirect them but they took the first step and began a journey with Jesus that changed the world.
They were entrusted with the future of God’s kingdom on earth and so like them we too are entrusted with God’s kingdom and maintaining it for the generations to come.
And in that respect we are like the disciples. We too need to learn to become or become better fishers of men. We too need to continue to learn how to reach out to those around us. We too need to continue to learn how we can be Jesus to our family, our children, our loved ones, our friends and neighbors or someone on the street. And the only way we can do that is through action. The only way we can do this is by our willingness to begin or continue on that journey with Jesus. It is a journey of a lifetime.
Christ in his Disciples As Christ lived in through his disciples we are challenged to allow Christ to live and work through us.
Quote: Andrew Jackson wrote: Take time to deliberate,; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go
17 And Jesus said to them, "Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men." 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him.
What will be your decision? - AMEN
SCRIPTURES and quotes
As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him. 10 And as he sat at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples.
37 He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
Then Jesus told his disciples, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
The young man said to him, "All these I have observed; what do I still lack?" 21 Jesus said to him, "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.
43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. And he found Philip and said to him, "Follow me." 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael, and said to him, "We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; 28 and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.
ESV And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever,
Dallas Willard
Make this comment in the book The Spirit of Disciplines –
"For at least several decades the churches of the Western world have not made discipleship a condition of being a Christian. One is not required to be, or to intend to be a disciple in order to become a Christian, and one may remain a Christian without any signs of progress toward or in discipleship.
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