The Weekend Word
Last week we finished off on one of the 2 great transition verses in this gospel – “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (4:17)
Look at Matt 16:21 – “From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
Now we are going to see Jesus Call the First Disciples
- What is a disciple? A follower of a certain teacher or teaching.
- They become imitators of the original Rabbi / Teacher
18 While walking 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.
- While walking – Imagine all the walking these folks did – the terrain. To us this is the epitome of a tough life. To them it was what you did.
- Sea of Galilee = only fresh water body besides the Jordan River.
- 13 miles by 8 miles at its largest dimensions.
- They were fishermen – it seems odd that Matthew would make this clarification, but I think he is making it clear that they were following their vocation.
19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
- Now this isn’t like “a stranger walked up and said ‘Follow me’ and like zombies they did.”
- The 2 sets of brothers have already met this Jesus.
- They may have had a previous call – like when Andrew brought Peter.
- But now they are being called to a specific ministry. – ‘Fishers of Men’
- But you don’t just become a fisher of men – you need to be called to follow Jesus and HE will make you a fisher of men.
- And we will see throughout a call to an office.
20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
- Immediately – they just get up and leave. They leave all that they have to follow… or did they?
- What would you have to leave?
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 him.
- Again – immediately
- Imagine Dad Zebedee looking around trying to figure out ‘what happened?’
- Think about this – we many times hear the “fishers of men” as an evangelistic verse but here it is following Jesus to become fishers of men.
- How God uses you will determine what part of fishing you are.
- God used Jonah as bait.
- Now think of this – they left everything, but they still had everything – they still have their houses, mother in laws and other relationships – they were able to go back to their businesses later.
- This is really a matter of priority.
- Many make the mistake of thinking of Jesus as their example, their life coach. The kingdom is manifest in me.
- This is not the case – the reign of God is not set up or presented as an augmentation to our own present existence. It is not an add on or only part of our lives.
- From the Matthew Commentary – “It is folly and destruction to think that old wineskins can serve as containers for new wine. The kingdom, the power and the glory are his, now and forever.”
- “Into that larger reality, individual men and women are claimed and called by Jesus, graciously, freely. No one, however, can come to him without acknowledging his authority to call and to call unconditionally (16:21-27).”
- He is the Lord – his call is ‘Come after ME (4:19)
- Come after me – follow me – walk behind me, go where I go, see what I see.
- In the end, Jesus in his theology of the cross is promising one thing only – death.
- We will see more about the call and the formation of the 12 apostles when we get to chapter 10.
**Jesus Ministers to Great Crowds – What follows is kind of a summary of his entire ministry **
23 And he 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.
- Teaching in the synagogues = he is teaching where the word of God would be read.
- People come to hear – Jesus comes to speak = a pretty good match.
- What is this preaching “the gospel (the good news) of the Kingdom”?
- Jesus uses the method that should still be used today – make the people aware of their sinfulness, their total lack of ability to get themselves out of the mess and then tell them of God’s merciful forgiveness.
- Healings back then would catch your attention.
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, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them.
- Where is this Syria? Was it a part of a larger Israel as we can see in the time of David? Is this just saying, throughout the northern most regions of Israel?
- Isaiah’s Suffering Servant – who will free the captives – makes the blind see – the lame walk and the deaf to hear.
- These people need it all and Jesus does it all.
25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.
- They followed him from everywhere to everywhere.
- This verse (25) is not a part of 23 & 24 and really should be at the top of 5:1.
This is the crowd that Jesus sees as he approached the mountain (5:1)