Summary: Jesus calls us to follow him in repentence, immediacy, and ministry. He asks us to follow because he never wants us to be the same.
(quotes taken from the NKJV unless noted)
Wakelee Church ~ January 23, 2005
Theme: Jesus calls us to follow him in repentance, immediacy, and ministry because he never wants us to be the same.
In 1870, at the Indiana Methodist Annual Conference, the presiding Bishop was asking a group for an interpretation of current events.
The president of the college where the conference was held volunteered his input: "I think we are living in a very exciting age. I believe we are coming into a time when we will see wonderful inventions. I believe we will fly through the air like birds!"
Bishop Wright, visibly disturbed by this scientifically based comment proclaimed, "This is heresy, this is blasphemy; I read in my Bible that flight is reserved for the birds and the angels. We will not have such talk here in my episcopal area." Bishop Wright then returned home to his two young sons, Orville and Wilbur. (source: www.sermoncentral.com)
Change…so often we’re afraid of what it might bring but yet when we look at the world around us…we don’t want them to stay the same either.
We pray for peace in a time of war. We pray for health in a time of sickness. We pray for wealth in the midst of poverty. We pray for guidance in the midst of indecision. We pray for hope in the midst of darkness, faith in the midst of fear, and love in the midst of hate.
There is no doubt we want the change…but the transformation from our status quo, our comfort zone, is often the most uncomfortable feeling in the world.
Jesus knew that the people were ready for the change he was about to bring. John the Baptist had drawn crowds upon crowds, and now with him in prison, they cried out for more.
And it was then, after His baptism, and after His temptation, that the ministry of Jesus Christ began…it began with the disciples.
The disciples-to-be were tired.
Tired of tyrannical government that kept them, as Jews, as the lowest rung of the ladder.
Tired of an oppressive religiosity, where high priests said one thing but did the opposite.
Tired of a life, that would have little purpose but providing fish to an economy.
What Jesus offered to them was something different…what Jesus offered them was a chance…a chance that would lead to a change that would never allow those disciples to be the same again. A change that would lead to a change that would forever change the world…
All with two simple words… “follow me.”
And if we look at our Scripture closely, we can see exactly what change Jesus had in mind…
I. First, he offered the change of repentance. (vs. 12-17)
It is no accident that Jesus’ first words in his ministry were - “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Had he not plucked those words from John’s own mouth? Look at Matthew 3:2. Same words….do you think this may be important? Of course it is.
Until we come to a full realization that we are in need of repentance then it is very hard to follow…
II. Second he offered the change of immediacy. (vs. 18-22)
It reminds me of a story where a man took a short cut through the local cemetery after working late one night and fell in an open grave. After screaming and clawing, he gave up and decided to curl up in the corner of the hole and wait until morning.
It just so happened that another person took the same route through the cemetery just moments later. He too, fell into the grave. He took became screaming and clawing, like the first.
Suddenly, the second fellow heard a voice out of the dark corner of the grave saying, “You can’t get out of here…” But he did! (source: Illustrations Unlimited)
Take a look at verses 20 and 22. My NKJV uses the word “immediately” in both of these
sentences. Immediately, they left their nets. Immediately they left their boat.
Immediately they left their family. Immediately they followed him.
Until we have that sense of immediacy, it is very hard to follow…
III. Third, he offered the change of a life of ministry. (vs. 23)
We see this in verse 23…”And Jesus went about…teaching…preaching…healing…”
with the disciples in tow…
John Bell wrote a song that touched my heart the first time I heard it.
“Will you come and follow me, if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don’t know and never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown,
Will you let my name be known…
Will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?
Will you leave yourself behind, if I but call your name?