Summary: It’s simple,really. Jesus calls us to follow Him. Let’s see what that means.
Passage: Matthew 8:18-22
Intro: As a kid growing up in the church, there were certain songs that seemed dishonest for me to sing. Here was one:
1) “Earthly pleasures vainly call me, I would be like Jesus. Nothing worldly shall enthrall me, I would be like Jesus. Be like Jesus, this my song, in the home and in the throng. Be like Jesus all day long. I would be like Jesus.”
2. it is the song of the fully committed disciple, and it’s still a tough song to sing as an expression of the heart still infected with the flesh.
3. the gospels are full of passages like this one where following Jesus as a disciple is the theme, and where the requirements are very challenging.
4. in this story, we’ll discover the reason why discipleship is so challenging, as well as two very specifics areas where that challenge is seen.
I. Following Jesus Goes Beyond the Flesh
1. sometimes the time and place connections in the gospel are tough to see.
2. but I believe this one is quite clear.
3. in vv14-17, Jesus is in Capernaum
4. Peter’s home, some healing took place in the evening.
5. small town and a few people, but easy to see that the news spread quickly and a crowd appeared in v18
6. now here is the challenge of having a “common grace” ministry; one that ministers to the needs people have and want met.
7. it is God’s desire to meet them, and it is good to do so.
8. but just like a ministry of proclamation of the word only without demonstrating the love of God in meeting needs is incomplete, so is only the meeting of felt needs only and not addressing the spiritual condition.
9. people know what they want, but don’t always know what they need.
10. Jesus could have set up a clinic in Capernaum and healed for the rest of His life. But there were other needs to meet.
11. and there is no doubt that he saw the crowds, drawn by the promise of healing, and formulated a quick escape plan.
PP Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, “other side” (east side)
12. v 28 tells us where he ended up..Gadara.
13. this was not a place where your good Jew would go on purpose.
14. for the crowd to follow, would have to go the long way around the Sea, or ford the Jordan carrying their sick person.
PP Jordan River entering Sea of Galilee
15. no doubt that Jesus deliberately cut off the healing service, but those who had watched it were drawn to it.
16. our ministry needs to be careful to meet physical needs, but not stop there.
17. you can draw a crowd with healing or food or appeals to the flesh.
18. but true discipleship goes beyond the flesh, and that is often where the attraction stops.
19. this understanding is critical, because we will see in specifics now the principle Jesus is teaching.
20. that is, that discipleship is a call to live in the world of death but walk in a new way; the way of life.
II. Following Jesus Challenges our Earthly Security
1. a teacher of the law confronted Jesus before the boat departed for the other side.
2. wanted to be a follower, the phrase is a typical one that might be used to initiate the teacher-student relationship.