Saturday, March 1, 2008

Matthew 4:18-20 The Messiah calls disciples

There are many things about God that fill me with awe and wonder. One of the greatest wonders to me is the fact that God choose to use fallen men and women as instruments through which He accomplishes His work. I mean, in and of ourselves, who among us could claim to have anything useful or worthwhile to offer God. For all our studying and all the skills and abilities we’ve developed in our lives, all of us are just about as much use to God as a sponge in the desert. Regardless of this, God chooses to use us and permit us to take part in the work that He does in this world. As we study this passage of scripture, we are reminded of how awesome an honor it is for God to call us to Himself for salvation and use us for ministry.

First of all, as we observed last week, Jesus had relocated to Capernaum along the Sea of Galilee. We find here yet another reason for Him to have relocated to this area. Matthew records in verse 18 that “Jesus was walking along the Sea of Galilee”. However, this was no simple stroll to stretch His legs. There was a definite purpose to this walk along the sea. He had a divine appointment with some men whom He had chosen for ministry. He had met these men and spent some time with them as recorded in John 1:36-42. However, at this time he found them “casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen”.

Isn’t it amazing that Christ would chose to call these men? They were not religious scholars. For that matter, they probably were not particularly intellectual. These are not men that the world would expect to be called as messengers of the most high God. They worked outside in the elements and worked hard for a living. They were typical blue collar guys. And here was the God that created the universe calling them into service. This is very encouraging to me. It should be encouraging to all of us. God chooses to use what men would call foolishness to make those that think they are wise truly look foolish (1 Corinthians 1:19). Praise God for being willing to use folks like me, you, Peter, and Andrew.

Notice further the call of Christ to these men. And as we pay attention to this call, I think it’s important to think about the call of Christ in our own lives. In John chapter 6 verse 37, Jesus said “All that the Father gives Me will come to me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” In other words, the call of Christ is an effectual call, meaning that it will accomplish its intended purpose. When God calls someone to salvation, they come to salvation. When God calls someone to service the will enter that service. His sheep hear His voice and follow Him.(John 10:27). Therefore, when Christ calls these men into service, they respond because they are His sheep..

His call to them is interesting. He calls for them to “Follow Me”. If we are going to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, we must remember that He is the Master and we are the servants. He is the Shepherd who guides, leads, and feeds us who are the sheep. We are not independent agents who go where we want and do what we want. We are no longer slaves of sin but slaves of righteousness (Romans 6:18). Therefore, the most basic requirement of any disciple of Christ is to follow after Him.

Notice further, that He calls them with a particular kind of call. He says “I will make you fishers of men”. The Greek word “poieo” is the word translated “make”. We should remember that what we are going to become for God is not something we become under our own power. God works to make us like His Son. Christ here told these men that they would be changed and He would do the changing. They were called to leave what was probably a profitable fishing business to become what He called “fishers of men”. Now, instead of fishing for sea creatures for themselves and others to eat, they would fish for men by preaching the Gospel to them with the hopes of saving them. They went from providing men with food for their stomachs to providing them with food for their souls.

Finally, we notice in verse 20 that “Immediately, they left their nets and followed Him”. To a fisherman, nets were paramount. You couldn’t go to Wally World and pick up a fiberglass rod and reel and maybe some hooks and lures. That sort of stuff wouldn’t have done the job anyway. If you were going to fish, you had to have nets. When they left their nets, they left their way of life. It’s as simple as that. For them, there was no turning back. The call of God was so powerful in their life that they left their very livelihood to go where Jesus went without knowing where it would take them. Let us pray to God for the kind of faith and boldness that these men had. We should follow their example to let nothing get in our way of serving God faithfully and proclaiming the Good News wherever we go.

Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible Copyright 1960, 1962, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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