Last week the message was all about God calling to us. This morning the gospel lesson is about Jesus calling his disciples Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John.
As he was taking his walk on the beach of Lake Galilee he called to them to come with him. He said he was going to make them fishers of men. I wonder did they understand what he meant. Had they been thinking about what they had heard and seen since they spent some time with Jesus after John pointed him out to them? Were they just waiting?
Matthew says, ‘Jesus said to them,’ “Come with me.” They didn’t ask questions. They just dropped their nets and followed.
I think that took a lot of courage to just up and leave jobs that provided money for food and shelter to follow an itinerant rabbi just because he invited them. But isn’t it the same today?
Think back to when you felt Jesus calling you. Think back to when he was knocking at the door of your heart. Remember what that was like, excitement, fear, anxiety, uncertainty. Maybe you answered when he called or maybe you haven’t made a commitment yet. Maybe he’s still calling.
I want you to do what you did a couple Sunday’s ago when we remembered our baptisms. I would like you to remember that time when you knew, really knew, it was Jesus calling you to join him. When did it happen? Where were you? What were your emotions? Were your burdens lifted? Did the world seem brighter?
When Jesus calls it’s an invitation to a journey. This mysterious Voice calls us and then, when we say yes, He walks with us teaching, healing, listening, and caring for us as he encourages us to share his love with our friends and family.
I remember the day I committed my life to Jesus. I was 14 and was alone with my pastor, Rev. Henry. He had spent quite a few weeks with our confirmation class explaining to us what it was to be a member of a church and a follower of Jesus Christ. And that last day before we were confirmed he talked to each of us individually about answering Jesus’ call to discipleship. Even though I trusted him and I trusted Jesus not to lead me into danger I was still afraid of what I might be agreeing to.
There have been many times I’ve failed since that time. I’ve made so many mistakes along the way but Rev. Henry was right. Jesus has forgiven me and welcomed me back every time.
When I first agreed to follow Jesus I figured I would have to give up everything that I held dear. I think that scared me more than maybe being sent to some far away country to teach people about Jesus.
I wonder if Simon and Andrew felt that way when they dropped everything and left their nets and boats. Did they wonder what they were getting themselves into?
You know, answering the Call is a little bit like dying and being reborn. When we answer the Call we do away with our old way of thinking and doing and reacting to the world because they no longer fit. We have stepped over a threshold into a new way of living. And our old way of doing things just doesn’t work for us anymore.
It used to be if someone hurt us with their words or actions we respond by trying to hurt them. But now that doesn’t seem right. Jesus is all about love and peace and not about retaliation.
When Jesus calls he calls us to be peacemakers. He calls us to renounce violence. He asks us to deny ourselves. He asks us to keep our eyes focused on him as he walks ahead of us on this journey.
Friends, I won’t lie to you. It’s not easy trying to live as Jesus lived. It’s extremely difficult many times to love everyone and not want to pay them back for the hurt they’ve caused me. But it can be done. It just doesn’t happen overnight.
This life Jesus is calling you and me to requires commitment and discipline. It’s hard work at times but the One who walks with us shares the load and it doesn’t seem so bad. And the reward is going to be way beyond anything we can imagine, eternal life, life without sin. Max Lucado asked the question this week in one of the devotionals I read. He said, “Can you imagine a world without sin? If so, you can imagine heaven.”
Friends, when we answer Jesus’ call to discipleship it’s the beginning of heaven. Sins are forgiven and the darkness begins to recede.
Remember Jesus’ words, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matt. 11:28-30
Jesus is still calling disciples to him. Will you answer his call today?
Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.