Summary: Jesus calls us to take the Great Adventure when He says "Follow Me!" But will we follow Him?
The Great Adventure
January 7, 2017
In his book, The Island of Lost Maps, author Miles Harvey shared something I think many of us can relate to. He wrote ~
In my 30's I spent a great deal of time at the Kopi [a travelers' café in Chicago] whose walls were adorned with masks from Bali and shelves filled with guides to far-flung destinations. I was then the literary critic for Outside Magazine, a great job, but one that was beginning to wear on my patience. You see, the books I read were about people who climbed Himalayan peaks, rode a bicycle across Africa, sailed wooden boats across the Atlantic, or tracked into restricted areas of China. These tales of adventure filled my days and imagination, and yet my own life was anything but adventurous. The interior of the Kopi coffee shop was ringed by clocks, each one showing the time in some distant locale, and as I watched the weeks ticking away in places like Timbuctu and Juno and Goa, I began to long for an adventure of my own.
Harvey said he loved looking at maps. He said he was acting like a character who said, "When I grow up I will go there." So Harvey would spend hours looking at exciting and exotic places throughout the world - - - and he would lose himself in the fantasy of possible adventures around the world - - hoping to some day find adventure in those places.
Can you identify with him? Are you ever impatient with your life? Do you ever grow weary of the routine, of the way things are? Are you absolutely content with where your life is heading? Is there any part of you that might like to get up from your seat and go off on an adventure that might leave the quality of your life better than it is today? Is there any part of you that wants to do that? For too many people the answer is a resounding, "Yes, yes, I want to go there."
I want you to listen to this story from the Bible about some people who took that adventure. Let’s look at the story from Matthew 4 ~
18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers,
Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen.
19 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
20 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.
21 And 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, and He called them.
22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Jesus.
We’ve all heard the stories and maybe we’ve lived some of the stories of people who just picked up their lives and on a whim, left and did something adventurous when they were young. They felt some kind of calling, even if we disagreed with this calling.
In a sense, that's what the disciples did: they just got up and followed this strange new rabbi. It's striking how immediate their response was. Jesus said, "Follow me," and these hard-nosed working people suddenly dropped their tools, left their loved ones — followed Jesus. When we read stories like this we can’t help but feel there’s something about this kind of response that runs against human nature.
Until you read the words that come next, their behavior is unexplainable. For you see, it's this very next part that is the context for the first part.
23 And Jesus went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom
and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.
24 So His fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought Him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains,
those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and Jesus healed them.
25 And great crowds followed Him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan. – Matthew 4:18-25
Look at what Jesus was doing! He healed people! It didn’t matter if it was spiritual, physical, emotional. People were healed. And what did they do?
In other words, lots of people from all walks of life and places laid down their tools, got off their camels, walked away from work, their homes, from wherever – and followed Jesus.
They were willing to get up and follow Jesus because they saw what Jesus could do with a life put into His hands. They saw His transforming power. Jesus said ~
10 I came that you may have life and have it abundantly. – John 10:10