Story of first disciples
Jesus will not make you follow him. So what makes you think you should MAKE others follow you?
Many of us get frustrated with relationships where people who you think should listen to you for their own good, simply do not. This can be friends, kids, co-workers…. Mannn even my dogs don’t listen some of the time. One of the beautiful things about being human is our ability to choose. Unfortunately sometimes with that ability people can and do chose not do as you would wish, even when it is for their own good. There is nothing like watching someone you love make a wrong decision once, twice and multiple times and not be able to convince or move them to make a better choice.
I would say the disciples made a good choice in deciding to follow Jesus. But as we see in Jesus’ recruiting of the first disciples, He did not force them, cajole, butter them up, or strong arm them.
Luke 5 tells us that One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret,[a] the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. 2 He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
This is how Jesus called His first disciples/ followers.
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
Simon was like… we worked all night doing just what you are telling us to do and nothing happened……….(exhale)…. ok…. But just because you said so, we can/ I will.
Jesus can bless you anywhere, anytime, but sometimes He requires us to participate. He told Simon to put down the nets. Which though it is something as a fisherman he did on a regular basis, he was not going to do that at this moment. Fisherman usually worked early morning and late at night. This had to have been during the day as Jesus was out on the water speaking to a crowd. This is not conventionally great fishing time, but Jesus said… set up to catch the fish I am bringing to you. Despite it not making sense to do the same wrong thing over again they followed Christ’s command and dropped the nets.
The only reason He dropped the nets was because Jesus told him. Because Jesus says so, is enough. Despite it being the wrong time of the day, despite them having just had a terrible experience in not being able to catch any fish, they chose to follow Jesus’order.
6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
Nothing changed from the night before, except they had a word from the Lord. Sometimes, you may be doing the right thing, but it may just not be the right time. But when he directs you, but just as Simon drop the nets when told by the Lord to do so you can have a boat sinking score by doing what the Lord tells you and when.
8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
Not only can and will God bless what you have been doing if you are obedient, but He may change your focus. He says here, “Don’t be afraid which is written in Scripture 365 times, one for each day of the year.
He told Abraham Genesis 15:1 – After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.’
He told Moses Numbers 21:34 – The Lord said to Moses, ‘Do not be afraid of him, for I have delivered him into your hands,
Through Samuel he told David I Samuel 12:20 – ‘Do no be afraid,’ Samuel replied. ‘You have done all this evil; yet do not turn away from the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart.’
- Jesus said Matthew 10:31 – So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
- Paul wrote in Hebrews Hebrews 13:6 – So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?’
- In Revelation God says, Revelation 1:17 ‘Do not be afraid.I am the First and the Last.’
The message is pretty simple. Though it is not one of the explicit commands of Exodus, it is stated enough for me to reckon that we are not to be afraid. What each of these fear not quotes has in common is that God is saying when you are with me, nothing can conquer against you. So
As Jesus is telling this to Simon do not fear, you will now be a fisher of men He was telling him that it may not always appear the way you want it, be comfortable, but If the Lord says go… Do not be afraid.
Simon became the first of Jesus’ closest disciples and went on to change the world.
Simon who is also known as Peter went from fishing in open water to walking on it (Matthew 14:28-33). He gave an arousing speech at Pentecost which resulted in 3000 souls being saved. (Acts 2:14-41). Peter means “stone” in Greek, while Cephas is “stone” in Aramaic. Cephas was a “pillar” of the church (Galatians 2:9) who was one apart of Jesus’ inner circle and witnessed miracles that other apostles did not. He
As one of the three disciples who was closest to Jesus. He got to witness miracles and moments the other apostles weren’t privy to, including:
- The time Jesus raised a girl from the dead (Mark 5:35-43)
- The Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-13)
- A sorrowful and troubled Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46)
Jesus told Him what to do and he followed. Though his life was not that of the rich and famous, Peter lived a full life as a result. He could have responded with I don’t know how, I don’t have the time, I’ve got to get in shape, get my bills in order, get my family in line, my husband or wife on board. I have to get time off of work or put it out on Facebook and see what the consensus is…… Nope. He pulled the boats ashore and followed.
(example of people acting fast)
Jesus spoke of His power. He demonstrated His power and told him to follow him. Peter complied.
But even Jesus could not get everyone on board.
Some time later after Jesus had been out doing what He does, healing the sick, spreading the Good news of the coming Kingdom of God. Being miraculous, He had been rousing crowds all over Galilee and was on His way to Jerusalem….. when
17 …., a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Anytime an adult is running towards something they must really want it. It was not a casual stroll, he really wanted to talk to Jesus and find out what he needed to do for eternal life.
He thought it was something to achieve, something to ascertain like the other reward worthy efforts of his life. He was looking to secure/possess a life that did not end. What he was asking for was far greater than he understood. The term in the New Testament used for “eternal” is aiónios. This term does not focus on the future per se, but rather on the quality of the era it relates to. It is not an appendage, an add-on to life after you die. Thus believers live in “eternal /aiṓnios life” right now, experiencing this quality of God’s life now as a present possession. In fact, eternal life is not really associated with day, months or years at all. It is independent of time. It is not just a gift independent of time. It is a gift from God. Regaining what was lost in the Garden of Eden, the Tree of Life.
What the man thought he was asking to receive in the future was a gift that required him to drop his nets today. And in response, like many of Jesus’ responses, Christ focused the man before He gave him a response. He replied:
18 “Why do you call me good?” “Only God is truly good. 19 But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.’[a]”
He says only God is truly good. He centers the man’s request on God, a preface to what is to come. But hey, you must follow the commandments and the man replies, 20 “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.”
21 Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
This man was stuck on what he had done. Jesus was focused on the man getting to know Him. Just as he indicated in his first response, the God is the only truly good one. You will get to know good by following me. The implication here is that Jesus is God.
Jesus was saying to the man…Look I really am fond of you, you seem like a well intended guy. Glad you are following the commandment, but look here, the one thing you need to do is let go of the worldly stuff and follow me. Follow me. No matter how much good stuff you do or how much bad stuff you refrain from doing, you only get eternal life by following me.
So Jesus offered this man eternity. Something no one else can offer. The moment he decided to follow Christ the man would receive it. The most valuable thing in the world, a forever relationship in the glow of God, the peace to have joy in the midst of anything. He simply said come…. follow me.
22 At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
Unlike Peter, the rich man treasured his things his material more than what Jesus offered, more than the eternal life he requested. Jesus explicitly offered this man the treasures of heaven and the nameless man rejected Him.
There are so many messages in this:
- People chose what is in front of them not what they can’t see. (immature)
- If Jesus could not convince this man to follow him, we should know that not everyone is going to follow you.
- No matter what you do, some people are going to make the wrong choices.
- Holding on to your things can cause you to miss more valuable things.
- Whats more important your things or your relationships.
- Feeling or fellowship?
What I want you to take away today is that your role is to share Christ. Share the good news that Jesus lived, was crucified and rose so that we can have aiónios — eternal life, but we have to follow him.
We have been blessed with an array of talents that allow us to minister this message in a gambit of ways, but we cannot make anyone follow him. As we see here, Jesus said, these are the keys to the kingdom and my man turned him down. If Jesus did not make everyone he encountered while in His presence, we cannot make folks follow Him.
If Jesus did not make everyone follow Him even after being in His presence, what makes you think everyone will follow you. Don’t be mad or dejected when you get rejected. Do the best you can and keep it moving. Continue to put the gifts and talents to work that God have been given.
This message should take the pressure off. One of the questions any minister of the gospel has after each delivery is was it effective. Whether you are a singer, preacher, teacher dancer, poet, or minister in another capacity we are always praying that the word we deliver moves the listeners and that someone is moved to pull in their boat and follow.
We can only shine God’s glory, preach His word, but we cannot make people follow. Jesus commissioned His disciples and sent them off two at a time. He warned them of those who will reject them.
In Mark 10 it states that Jesus told them to go out and preach the gospel of the kingdom of heaven which is at hand. He told them to preach and to get to work, 8 [e]Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. He then told them what Spiderman has adopted as his mantra. Of whom much is given, much is required. He told them without cost you have received; without cost you are to give. 9 J
Jesus went on to tell them to look for worth people to stay with and if they are worthy keep. Pray for them, seek their peace and happiness by prayer, teaching, stay with them, and impart to them the blessings of the gospel. But…… but if they turn out not to be worthy, if they are not willing to receive you, that is okay. What you tried to give them but they do not receive, you can benefit from.
That’s kind of like if you go buy someone a cold water after a workout, but they refuse it, you can keep it and be nourished yourself. That which others reject becomes thereby a greater blessing to you. Not only that, once you have been rejected, leave their residence, and make sure to shake the dust off your feet. You are responsible to your neighbor but not responsible for your neighbor. We are to love them, which requires us to share with them, but there comes a time when we must move on from them. Shaking off the dust equates to washing your hands of a situation. You cannot make folks do right. We are to try, but as we see here, sometimes when rejected, we are to move on to the next town.