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By Rev. Dan Mahan
Luke 9:23 “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross DAILY and follow me.”
A man was out fishing in his boat, when he hooked into a large bass. He fought the fish for quite awhile, and finally got it reeled into the boat. He could not believe his eyes. It was a 37 pound striper, a prize keeper. On the shore, he ran into a second fisherman who had a stringer with a dozen blue gill. The second fisherman looked at the bass, turned to the first fisherman and said, " Only caught the one, eh?"
It was the beginning of Jesus’ ministry on earth. As he was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, Mark 1:14 tells us that Jesus saw Simon (Peter) and his brother Andrew fishing. They were busy with the ordinary things of their day-doing the things they were the most comfortable doing. Jesus calls out to the pair of brothers, “Come, follow Me”. That same day, in vs 19, two more brothers James and John were also fishing. Jesus issues the same call to then. “Follow Me” he calls. At a later date, Levi, also called Matthew, was sitting at his tax collector booth. ”Follow me, “Jesus calls to Matthew. Jesus’ call to all was the same-“Come, Follow me, “And in each one of these cases, all men immediately left what they were doing to follow Jesus.
They immediately followed Jesus. I wonder what it was about Jesus that made them respond without hesitation. We follow Jesus today because we know what He did for us on Calvary. But if some stranger were to ask you to follow them, would you follow? It’s not likely! Jesus did not tell them where they were going or what they were going to do.
There must have been something about Jesus that made them respond immediately, no questions asked. At once, when Jesus called them to follow, these men left their nets or their tax collector booth and followed. They did not know where Jesus was leading them. They did not know exactly what it was that he was calling them to do. But they did realize Jesus was calling them to something important. And they followed.
What was Jesus calling them to? Yes, Jesus was calling them to physically follow
But Jesus was also issuing them a call to fellowship with him. These disciples and Jesus became good friends. For three years, they were constant companions. But Jesus’ calling was much more than that. It also was a call to discipleship, to belief in Him as their Savior. Luke 5 tells us that on the day that Jesus called these fishermen, the disciples had fished all night and caught no fish. Have you ever been there? I have! Darlene and I love to fish. We fish for fun. We like to catch fish, but we release what we do catch (because I like fishing, but not cleaning!) Even though we are not fishing for fish to eat, it is still frustrating to fish for hours and not catch any fish. I can imagine it’ s much more frustrating when you are fishing for a living like the disciples and then you catch no fish. Jesus tells them “Fish on the other side of the boat.” Now Darlene and I do that quite often. If we aren’t catching fish on this side of the boat, we pull our lines in and cast them out on the other side. Sometimes, we still don’t have any luck! We need Jesus as our fish finder! For when the disciples pulled their nets in and cast them out on the other side of the boat, their
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