Summary: A sermon for the third Sunday after the Epiphany Calling the disciples
3rd Sunday after Epiphany
An Encounter with Jesus
14* Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching 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* And passing along by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net in 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.RSV
Today four more common men have an encounter with Jesus. If you remember last week’s sermon, we looked at the call of Philip and Nathaniel. Jesus had called Philip and then Philip told Nathanael about his encounter with Jesus. Remember that Nathanael put Philip off with some course words, but Philip didn’t back away, but uttered three simple words, come and see. Come and see. Nathaniel came and saw Jesus, had an encounter with him, and believed that he was the Messiah.
In today’s gospel lesson, we have another encounter with Jesus this time in Mark’s gospel. Jesus is beginning his public ministry, and he came into Galilee and passing along by the Sea of Galilee he called these fishermen to become fisher of men.
Notice the technique Jesus used. The text says, "he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, " Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men." And immediately they left their nets and followed him."
Can you feel the urgency, the immediacy, the conviction, of these men.
When Jesus called these fishermen the story could have had a vastly different course. They could have scratched their heads and discussed the pros and cons with each other, their families and neighbors.
"They could have told Jesus, well let us think about it for awhile, maybe something even better will come along.
Maybe a big school of fish will come and we will not be able to leave, maybe our wives won’t let us, maybe our friends will make fun of us for leaving our jobs, our home and our families to follow a guy who would will travel around the country side preaching that the time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel "
But when Jesus called these fishermen there was none of the above, they didn’t question his call, they didn’t think about it, they didn’t consult their families, they didn’t see if anything better would come along, they followed him.
When Jesus through his Holy Spirit encounters us today to follow him and let him be the Lord of our lives, he doesn’t want us to think about it, to weigh it, to study the pros and cons, to talk to our family and friends, to wait and see if something better will come along, or the situation in which we find ourselves will improve.
But when Jesus calls us there is a sense of urgency, there is a sense that Jesus is erupting into our lives with such a strong force that we have no choice but to decide now, not tomorrow or the next day, but now, now while he encounters us; while his presence is with us, while we have him besides to to encourage us in our decision.
There were a group of people standing outside a very large and ornate cathedral in Europe and they were admiring the very fine craftsmanship, the detail work, the care and the love that seemed evident in building such a fine place to worship a loving God. One of the men turned to another in the group and said, "Why can’t we build so today? Why can’t we build with such pride, such craftsmanship today, and the other man replied, "They had convictions; we have opinions."
Isn’t that true. The convictions, the integrity the early Christian had for their God is missing today. A lot of people have the opinion that they believe in God only when it is convenient, or when there is nothing better to do, or when it is socially acceptable, or when they sense they need a favor from God. There is no conviction to give ones all, ones whole self, ones whole life over to him. When Jesus encounters us, he doesn’t want our opinions about him, he want our conviction that he is the lord of life, that we are his servants and he is the master, he is the leader. We are the followers,we are his children, he is the father provider.