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What does it mean to follow Jesus?

(34)

Sermon shared by Richard Schwedes

January 2005
Summary: This sermon looks at how following Jesus is a life long committment of listening to Jesus and reflecting HIS light.
Denomination: Lutheran
Audience: General adults
Sermon:
Imagine being like those fishermen.
Sitting at work, in a place that is familiar to you
a place you are comfortable with, even if things were occasionally a bit difficult, then all of a sudden some character comes up to you and says
"Hey come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of people."

How would you react?
What would you do?

Some people may ask
Who are you?
What right have you to come into my life, and demand I follow you?

Others may ask
What’s it going to cost me?
What am I going to get out of it?

Then others may say
Am I good enough?
What does it mean to follow you?
What do I have to do?

Such responses are normal, natural responses for most of us.
We are concerned about our families, our future and ourselves.
But amazingly it appears these fishermen just got up and left what they knew…
They left their careers,
and in the case of James and John, not just a job but their family business.
And it appears they didn’t even question Jesus.

They simply got up and joined him…
But why???

Well part of the answer to this can be found in the Gospel reading for today. It reveals some things about Jesus, the nature of his ministry and what it means to be one of his followers.

After John’s arrest, verse 12 tells us that Jesus goes to Capernaum in Galilee. Now this is not Jesus going to a safe comfortable place. In fact, if anything Jesus was walking into more danger not less. Capernaum was just under 14 kilometres away from the Roman leaders home who had instigated the arrest of John.
It was also an area that had experienced wars,
oppression, many people were slaves and from a Jewish perspective, Capernaum was considered one of the most non religious,impure regions on earth.
The locals, the visiting traders and the tourists were mainly Gentiles, unacceptable people in the eyes of the Jews, who were waiting for a saviour.
This region was considered a place of darkness, a place not for religious people. Yet, this is where Jesus is placed by God to begin recruiting his followers and to begin his ministry hear on earth.

Jesus goes to this area of darkness to shine His light,
but not just a light for an elite few,
but in going to Capernaum we begin to see that Jesus came for all nations, for everyone.
Including those who do not deserve him.
In John 3:17 this is stated even more clearly, ‘For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him’.

And we have benefited from this. Jesus came and comes to each one of us regardless of our backgrounds, our status in society, our education, our wealth, our gender, to shine His light on us.
The first time we received the light of Jesus was at our baptism.
Where Jesus said to each one of us, ‘You are part of my family’…
‘You belong to the Lord…you are in the light’
And every time we hear and read scripture, every time we pray to God, every time we worship, every time we discuss scripture and our Christian lives with other people and every time we receive Holy communion the light of Jesus is being exposed to the us, to the world.
This light is the Good News that Jesus brings into the world.
It is Good News that helps us grow as people, as Christians.
It is Good News that means we have life forever.

So Jesus is a light that is always shining.
He is a light that is not just giving
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