Summary: Have you heard the 'call' of Christ? Have you responded to that call? Do you make it a priority in your life - every day? This sermon investigates the Scriptures and asks us to apply them to our daily lives.
A little geography before we begin. The Sea of Galilee is an oval-shaped body of water about eight miles wide and 15 miles long. It sits about 700 feet below sea level. It sits between Syria and Israel. Luke mentioned in his writings that some 240 boats were regularly on the lake (as He called it), fishing. There were a number of ways to fish in those times: hook and line, throw nets close to shore and drag nets out in the deep water. When Jesus called Simon Peter and Andrew – the first disciples, they were employing the second method, throwing a net close to shore.
Jesus had had three meetings with these men that are on record. He met them in Jerusalem, their second meeting was at the Sea of Galilee – but He had seen them before that and did not call them. So Jesus was familiar with these two. In fact John 1:35-42 tells us that these two were with John the Baptist and they were his disciples. John saw Jesus and said, “Look, the lamb of God,” and they followed Jesus in their early meeting with Him. This isn’t the important thing however. What is important is the fact that Jesus called men like this. I have always thought that if He called the disciples to ministry, imperfect, normal, everyday folks – He would be able to use me, and He also will be able to use you.
He may not use you as a “fisher for men,” but He most certainly will use you.
There is a story about a woman who was in the church and she tried and tried to witness to others and tell them about Christ. But whenever she tried to begin; she froze up. She was so upset she went to her pastor and told him that she felt like a failure because of her inability to articulate the Word of God to others. Her pastor replied, “Did it ever occur to you that God intended for you to make pies for His church?” That may sound a little crazy, but it is not.
Is Jesus’ call to you something you heard a long time ago and it’s now faded away as the years have gone by, or is it something that you Hear fresh every day?
Today we’re going to look at this passage from Luke’s gospel where the call to follow Jesus rings out clear as a bell, and we’ll see a number of different responses to that call.
Just before this passage we are told that the time for Jesus to be taken up to Heaven is approaching. Jesus had a clear sense of His purpose on earth. He knew that his time was short and that it wouldn’t be long before His work was complete. And He also knew that that work would come to it’s fulfillment in Jerusalem. So we’re told He set out to go to Jerusalem. The NIV version says He resolutely set out for Jerusalem. There’s a strong intention there that’s expressed quite strongly. He’s going to Jerusalem to fulfill God’s plan for him and for all humanity.
But not everyone accepts Christ’s call – some reject it.
As He starts off, He approaches a Samaritan village and He sends messengers ahead to prepare the way for Him. They probably told the people that Jesus is planning to stay there on his way to Jerusalem. Now, the relationship between the Jews and the Samaritans at this point in history was not friendly, so you’ll see that this was a very gracious thing for Jesus to do. You see, what He was doing was including the Samaritans in His mission. He might well have bypassed them, but no, He sets out to stay with them, to include them in the fulfillment of God’s plan of salvation. But what is their response? They reject him. They don’t want to be part of anyone who is connected in any way to Jerusalem. So here we see the first type of response to Jesus’ call to follow Him, to join Him on the way of the cross. One response of people to the call of Jesus is rejection.
How has your response to Christ’s call turned out? Do you accept the call, daily? Or do you kinda let things slip?
The danger of rejection isn’t just what James and John say in their Gospels. It isn’t that God will strike us down on the spot.
It’s more subtle than that, but nevertheless it’s just as dangerous. The danger of rejection is that Jesus will let us have our way. He never forces us to accept Him. He just goes on to another. In other words, if you choose to ignore the call of Jesus, He’ll let you. That’s a bit scary isn’t it?