Follow. I Will Follow!
January 21, 2023
Photo by Jehyun Sung on Unsplash
Message from Facebook Service
Called from darkness where we wandered.
Called to follow brilliant light.
From the lives that we had squandered.
From our blindness, hearts ignite.
We have heard the distant voice
Growing closer by the hour.
We have made the desperate choice.
We are consumed by gentle power.
He has said now, "Follow me."
We have answered, "Yes. We see!"
We were looking for a light to follow, Dear God.
We were searching for hope.
We were looking for a way and you found us.
Let Us Pray
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness on them light has shined. You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken ...
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
1 Corinthians 1:10 and 18
Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose ... the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
"Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned."
From that time Jesus began to proclaim, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."
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 sea for they were fishermen. And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fish for people."
Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As 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. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.
“And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
There were two simple things that Jesus said and three things he did.
The first thing he said was, "Change your minds, lives, ways, and attitudes because the rule of God has come."
It was a radical proclamation and declaration.
Because of the news of change that had come to the world, the people of the world were being called to change.
The second thing he said was "Follow me and I will make you like the fishermen of this movement, gathering people under God's reign and capturing them alive for real life.
I am paraphrasing, of course.
The things he did, that Matthew describes were teach, proclaim, and heal.
Today, we shall focus for a moment on the two words, "Follow me."
Jesus showed up. on the shore. He showed up where the fishermen were. He knew that he would find someone he was looking for there. He had already considered the demographic from which he would choose fishers of men.
There they were. The dregs of society were there. The rough and tumble hard driven crusty fowl mouth working men. Among these Jesus would find some disciples.
Why? What could he see in men like that? How could they be qualified to be disciples of this rabbi?
But Jesus saw them and seized them. In them he saw potential and more. He saw all that they could become. He saw all that they would become. He saw what was already in their hearts.
He knew how to motivate them.
Jesus knew the words that would get their attention. He knew their longings. He knew their frustrations. He knew their dreams. He knew their desire for significance. He knew how to call them.
There was never a recruiter like Jesus.
When Jesus spoke several of these men listened, not all of them, but the ones he had chosen, the ones he was calling.
This was part of the miracle. Jesus knew.
Jesus knew who he needed.
Jesus knew who needed him.
The ones who would follow needed no long argument or persuasion. All it took was his look and a simple but compelling invitation. In that invitation was hope and a possibility.
In English it is two words. Follow me. Follow me and I will transform you from men who fish for fish to men who fish for people. I will create from you a great people movement.
That is what the Kingdom of God is. It is a movement characterized by the reign of God. It is a movement that is constantly attracting men and women to join and follow.
Jesus still knows where to go to find the people who will find the people who will find the people who will call the people to follow. He knows and he is still in the business of doing it.