Summary: It’s easy to say we’ll follow him anywhere, Jesus tells us to be sure we know the terms and conditions
And so Jesus prepares to end his day and leave Capernaum. Following the morning of teaching Christ and his disciples began the walk back to the town of Capernaum. Remember that it was during that time that he was approached by the leper, whom he healed. And then as they came to the outskirts of town the Roman Centurion with the sick servant approached Jesus, and after Christ commended him for his faith he healed his servant. Then they arrived at Peter’s house for supper only to find Peter’s Mother in law was ill in bed and Jesus healed her.
After supper a number of people who were sick or demon possessed were brought to Jesus, and he cast out the demons and healed those who were sick. Not a bad days work. But it was time to move on, and so they headed for the beach where Peter kept his boat and it was as they prepared to head out across the Sea of Galilee that we witness the encounter that Karen read for us earlier.
Have you ever been captivated by a person? Bought into their vision and their dreams and wanted to hook your wagon to their star? And maybe you did, and maybe you didn’t or maybe you did for a little while. When I was a teenager I was enamoured with Pierre Trudeau, in retrospect I’m not sure if it was because I was truly committed to everything he believed in and everything he did, or I was just committed because it bugged my father so much. If you have to rebel politics is a fairly safe route to go.
And so in the story we see two separate people approach Jesus and pledge conditional allegiance to him. Kind of like the guy who wrote his girl friend and said “For you I’d climb the highest mountain, swim the deepest ocean, cross the hottest desert. Ps if it’s raining on Saturday I won’t be over.”
In this account there are two men with two stories but in Luke’s account there are three men with three stories and I know there are some folks who would point to this as a contradiction. Stop it! If we went to the same event and were both telling someone about the event do you think we would have identical stories? Perhaps you heard something that I completely missed because I was looking at something that you didn’t see.
Maybe Matthew had turned to talk to Peter when the third man spoke to Jesus, maybe he had made his way down to the boat or just wasn’t paying attention to the conversation at that point because it wasn’t relevant to him. I don’t know, but Matthew didn’t include him in his account so we are going to skip him for no other reason then it makes my job easier.
First let it be noted that Not Everyone Who Heard Jesus Followed Him. Many of the people who were in crowd on that hill in the morning had gone back to their daily lives. Jesus words were a brief interlude in their lives; perhaps he had given them something to think about but apparently for many of them it wasn’t a life changing experience.
And that would have tough for people like Peter and Matthew to understand. After all they had given up a lot in order to follow Jesus. In both cases they gave up their livelihoods, Peter was a fisherman and Matthew was a tax collector, I understand that tax collectors from 2000 years ago were not viewed with nearly as much respect or held in nearly as high esteem as tax collectors are today. But it was still a job, still put bread on the table and kept the wolf away from the door and Matthew left the tax booth in the same way that Peter had left his fishing boat.
And for them and for people like them they couldn’t understand why everyone didn’t respond in the same way.
Today we see the same thing, not everyone who hears the message of Jesus will choose to respond in a positive manner. And we can’t understand it. It make’s perfect sense to us, repent of your sins and be granted eternal life. Wow what a deal, and yet there are people who hear it and understand it but aren’t going to commit to it.
Why not? Haven’t got a clue. But I don’t feel bad when not everyone who hears Denn preach makes a life changing decision because not everyone who heard Jesus in person made the decision to follow him.
I was reading a novel by Frank Peretti a number of years ago and a new preacher in town was talking to one of the old timers and told him “We are going to take this community for Christ.” And the old guy, he would have been around my age, responded by saying something to the effect of “Really? Peter never took a community for Christ, Paul never took at community for Christ, not even Christ took a community for Christ.”