Summary: This sermon looks at the call of the apostle Peter.
FOLLOW THE LEADER
TEXT: MATTHEW 4.18-19
In September 2006, my wife and I moved from Tennessee to Illinois to pastor a church. What would make us quit our jobs, sell our house, load a truck and move 400 miles from our hometown? It was a calling from God to follow Him. He wanted us to fulfill the ministry that He had called us to do. We tried to get a church in our home state, but that was not what God had in mind for us. Instead, God opened a door in the state of Illinois and asked “Are you willing to walk through and follow me?” We had a choice to make, and we made that choice. Today, we have an Illinois driver’s license and our car has an Illinois license plate.
In the verses prior to our text we see where Jesus begins His earthly ministry. He had been baptized by John the Baptist, driven by the spirit into the wilderness to fast for forty days and is tempted of the devil. He returns only to find out that John has been cast into prison. He departs into the region of Galilee where He begins to call his disciples. As He passes by the Sea of Galilee, He comes upon two men who are working as fishermen. One is named Simon and the other, his brother Andrew. In this sermon we are going to focus on the call of Simon.
I pray that at the conclusion of this message, you will see that Jesus found Simon right where he was, doing the job of a fisherman. Jesus called him to follow and become a disciple, because He knew of his ability to complete the mission that he would be given. Upon receiving this call, we will see Simon leave it all behind and follow after Jesus.
My desire is that we can truly understand that God calls us right where we are, because He also knows our abilities, and He knows what we are capable of doing. The question is will we, as Peter, drop everything and leave it all behind. God wants to use us in the same way to
become fishers of men. Are you willing to be one of those?
1. JESUS FOUND PETER WHERE HE WAS
They were just ordinary fishermen. Matthew 4.18-19a reads, “And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me” (see also Mark 1.16-17a). This was what Peter did, fishing was his profession, it was his means of providing for his family. There is a possibility that Jesus has already met Peter. We read in John 1, where Andrew is introduced to Jesus as the Messiah by John the Baptist. After meeting Him, Andrews goes and finds his brother Simon and brings him to Jesus. It appears that Simon possibly went back to his fishing. That is until Jesus finds him in Galilee in Matthew 4 where Jesus calls him to be a follower. The main motive for Jesus on this day is to find some disciples to follow Him.
When I read this story, I wonder why Jesus began his ministry by calling just ordinary fishermen. There were many educated men that were available in the country, those like the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the scribes. These men were all well versed in the Scripture. They knew all the traditions that have been passed down to the generations. With this caliber of men available, why is Jesus calling just ordinary fishermen?
In calling fisherman, He is not seeking the well-educated, but rather he is choosing someone he knew would follow him. Education is not bad in itself, but we must never allow it to be our only source. We must truly rely on Jesus, and always give Him the glory. These were men that he could train to be effective disciples. He knew that these men would not seek their own glory, but would seek that which would honor the Father. He could prepare these fishermen and they would be willing to go.
Jesus sees more in Simon than just “one who hears.” The apostle John records when
Jesus meets Simon, He tells him, “. . . Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone” (John 1:42).
As you begin to research the meaning of his name, Simon is a Greek form of the Hebrew name Simeon. This name means “one who hears or obeys” and this is exactly what Simon did when he heard the call of Jesus. When Jesus met Simon, he calls him by name and says I am going to add a little something extra to your name. This seems reminiscent of other times in Scripture when a person has a true encounter with God and gets a change of name. The same is true here in the case of Simon. When Jesus meets Simon, he says “I am going to call you Peter.” Peter is the Greek form of the name Cephas, which means “a rock.”