Summary: Jesus begins His ministry with building a team of disciples.


January 19, 2020

Matthew 4:12-23

Jesus, Begins His School of Discipleship

The Reading

Jesus Begins His Galilean Ministry

Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee. And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:

“The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,

Galilee of the Gentiles: The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light,

And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.”

From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Four Fishermen Called as Disciples

And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him.

Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.

Jesus Heals a Great Multitude

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.

The Message

Let me take a moment at the outset to explain the difference between teaching and discipling. Teaching means imparting knowledge. That’s what we sit in classrooms from early schooling through college, universities and seminaries for: to learn. Discipling has as much to do with living out the lessons as they are imparted as it does with hearing the words, taking notes and memorizing. Most of the very best preachers/pastors that I have had the privilege of knowing and working with are products of the classroom alright but bolstered by seasons of O.J.T. (on the Job Training).

On the mission field, we were provided with booklets entitled things like – “Where There Is No Dentist”; “Where There is No Doctor”; etc. Well we had a humorous anecdote that circulated among missionary friends entitled: “Where There Is No Brain Surgeon”! The reality is that a person doesn’t just read a book and become qualified to perform medical procedures.

Jesus did indeed lecture/teach His disciples, but He also took them on long journeys where they were witnesses and participants in “The Lord’s Way”. Jesus was every bit as much a leader as He was a Teacher/Preacher. Churches that model after Jesus, provide ongoing opportunities to learn by doing.

What good does it really accomplish to know what sacrificing means unless one experiences sacrifice. – Evangelizing – Ministering Outreach – Visitation to sick and shut-ins, etc. We could fill pages with examples of opportunities for living out discipleship training. I mentioned one key word in describing Jesus as the ultimate discipler. That key word is “LEADER”!

Having said LEADER, let’s review verse 19: “Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”’ Yes, Jesus said, “FOLLOW me”!

He did not say: “DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO!” I really don’t think many pastors say those words in the pulpit, but actions speak louder than words. I confess, that this little example applies to me and part of my learnings in the past as much as anyone else. That realization is a bitter pill! However, it would be very hypocritical not to share it.

Onward with the message-

Remember last week, Jesus met Andrew who was a disciple of John the Baptist. Andrew immediately went and found his brother Simon Peter and led him to Jesus. The two immediately were drawn to Jesus, with the realization that He was the Messiah.

When word reached Jesus that John the Baptist had been arrested and put in prison, He set out on a life of ministry and discipling others. Jesus walked down to the seacoast there at the Sea of Galilee. There he met Andrew and Peter, who were fishermen by trade. Jesus reached out to them and said: (verse 19 again) ““Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” From what I am reading, there was not even a slight hesitation. Verse 20- “They immediately left their nets and followed Him.” As they walked along, they came across the brothers John and James, sons of Zebedee. These two were also fishermen and were busy mending their nets. Jesus called out to them and they left their boat and their father and followed Him. Verse 22 – “and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him.”

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