Summary: The journey of faith has some mile marker symbols
time to turn on the lights.
John has announced His coming. And now it is time to begin His work. He has been Baptized and tested. And now he is ready to begin the first phase of His mission here on earth. But first He needs to put together a team.
And who does He choose? Religious leaders? Respected theologians of the time? No ordinary men. Working men. Fishermen. 18 As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. 19And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.’ 20Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them.
Jesus chose Fishermen, not theologians, not church leaders, just hard working blue collar people. Everyday men who know what it is to work for a living. And yet, they recognize the opportunity before them. And instantly they leave to follow Jesus. No guaranteed income. No job security. All they had was faith in Jesus and His promise to make them fishers of men.
As I see it, the road to sanctification and perfection comes in three stages. The first is simply responding to the question Follow me. This is a pretty big thing. It is the first step to a brand new life. It is leap of faith. I didn’t believe before but now I do. It is the first step of voluntary surrender of all aspects of our lives to God’s control through the Holy Spirit.
For the disciples their decision is instant. And from that moment on, their lives changed. At that point they had no idea what that would mean for their lives. Jesus gave them a clue. Luke 9:23
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
So my wooden walking stick represents following Jesus picking up the cross and following Jesus. This is the Disciple making part of evangelism, getting people to make the decision to Follow Christ’s teachings.
Once we have made the decision to follow Jesus, we accept certain responsibilities. When we connect with people and tell them that Jesus Died on the cross for their sins, we are casting the nets.
We transition from just student to minister. We share what we have been taught. We work together as a team to connect to our friends and neighbors. We are excited about the change in our lives and we want to share it with others. We notice that our faith increases as we share our faith. Still this is a learning process.
We remember when our fathers or grandfathers took us fishing. Now when my Father taught us to fish the only net we used was a small one to pull it out of the water. Not this kind. But still I needed to learn how to prepare the line, bait the hook, and cast. And then the pleasant job of cleaning the fish. Yuck!
I must say I never really liked it. It seemed cruel to the worm, fish and it bored me out of my mind. I remembered pouring Mountain Dew into the lake because I figured that I liked it so surely the fish would like it better than a stupid worm. What do you mean polluting the lake? This stuff is great!
Fishing for men is also a learned skill. To be successful in evangelism one’s own personal relationship with Christ must be strong. Our faith must be strong and it must be reflected in our actions.
In Acts Chapter 19 there is the account of men who tried to cast out an evil spirit. With no real faith themselves. 13 Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.”14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15 One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” 16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.
It is impossible to be fishers of men if we don’t have a real active faith ourselves. Now we may not have a demon possessed man beating us until we are bloody, but Satan has other ways of trying to keep us silent; Employers who will admonish or even fire employees for sharing their faith. People who openly mock and denigrate anyone who has faith. Family members will shun us. Friends will abandon us. I have seen engagements broken and marriages destroyed because one spouse found faith and the other did not. These aren’t strangers, they are people we love. Who are so stuck in their sin and earthly opinion that they will try to make you feel stupid, unenlightened, and backward. They argue their own superiority because they have through their human understanding transcended the need for a Lord and Savior.