Summary: Message about Jesus’ calling His first disciples.
“Come, Follow Me…”
June 13, 2004
NOTE: I am deeply indebted to Rob Bell, Pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church, and Dr. Ray VanderLaan, from Follow the Rabbi.com.
We’re back in our walk through the book of Matthew, and I need to warn you that it will be another three weeks before we continue, due to next week being Father’s Day, and then I have another message that I want to bring before we get into that wonderful portion of Scripture called the Sermon on the Mount, which we will begin after the fourth of July.
Today, we see Jesus calling the first disciples as they were fishing. This episode is pretty familiar to us, but I want us to focus for a bit on two phrases that Jesus uses when He calls these first four men to follow Him.
My intention today is to give you not only some information about what Jesus was doing and saying, but to challenge you in your view of discipleship, or that aspect of following Jesus.
Our passage is Matthew 4:18-22, and is printed in your bulletin, but you may want to have your Bibles ready because later we are going to head over to the book of Acts, chapter four.
Please follow along as I read our passage for today.
As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
Folks, I want to focus on the sentence Jesus uses here, and we are going to break it down into two parts. The first part is…
Part one: “Come, follow Me…”
Jesus approached these men with the invitation to become His disciples. Now I don’t know how you would react if someone from out of town came up to you and said, “Drop everything and come with me.”
But we do know the response of these men. The response to the invitation was immediate.
In every one of the gospels, we find that when Jesus invited these guys to follow Him, they did so immediately.
They did not say, “You know what, Jesus, I need to think about this a bit. I should probably go home and do an analysis of what this might do to my earning potential.
“You know, my mom and dad were kinda hoping I’d take over the fishing business. And I’m pretty well vested in the pension plan with the company.
“And I really should pray about this.”
No, they just left. They may have taken care of their affairs and such, but I think that when they heard the invitation from Jesus, there was no discussion. They simply went.
What would move them to just up and leave like that? Why would they take Jesus up on that invitation?
First of all, it’s…
1. Because Jesus had authority. His teaching was different than everybody else’s.
Part of the explanation for this lies in the way rabbis were thought of in those days. There were…
Two types of rabbis.
- There were Torah rabbis, who taught the Torah, which was mainly the Laws of Moses, but which also included the Prophets and the Writings.
These guys just taught the Torah. They were limited, if you will, by this, and could only teach what was accepted by the Jewish community as truth.
- The other kind of rabbi was a “S’mikah” rabbi. These guys were a whole different kind of rabbi. These guys were so brilliant, they were thought of as having “authority” or “s’mikah.”
They could bring new teachings, as long as it didn’t contradict the Old Testament.
One of the requirements of being a S’mikah was that they had the entire Old Testament memorized. These guys knew the text. And only about a dozen or so of these guys were around every 100 years. It was a pretty exclusive crowd.
But it wasn’t just the memory. It was the authority – that “s’mikah” that set them apart.
S’mikah rabbis were like the rock stars of their day. And when one of these guys came to town, the crowds would flock to be see, hear, and just be around them.
It’s kinda like if Michael W. Smith came to Aberdeen. Okay, Bill Gaither for some of you!
But if either of these guys came to town, I’d want to be around them. I’d want to learn about their life for Jesus, and how they handle their fame in light of Scriptural calls for humility, and such. And I’d want them to acknowledge me as their friend or acquaintance.