Derek Smith, Lead Pastor LHBC
Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.
Giuseppe Maria Garibaldi was an Italian general and patriot. A republican, he contributed to the Italian unification and the creation of the Kingdom of Italy. He is considered one of the greatest generals of modern times and one of Italy’s “fathers of the fatherland.” Garibaldi is also known as the “Hero of the Two Worlds” because of his military enterprises in South America and Europe. What of the most intriguing things about Garibaldi is that he raised an incredibly committed volunteer army. His appeal for recruits was rather unique as he offered only these terms: “I offer neither pay, nor quarters, nor provisions; I offer hunger, thirst, forced marches, battles and death. Let him who loves his country with his heart and not with his lips only, follow me!”
When Jesus showed up at the Sea of Galilee, he offered no pay, no provisions, and no quarters. In fact, Jesus would say later that “foxes have holes and birds have nests but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” He promised no safe passage or spoils of victory. He simply called common men to an uncommon and unbelievable task. Follow Me. First of all, who is this guy showing up on the seashore and what makes Him think I’m going to follow Him? Second of all, what’s in it for me? I mean, if I’m going to leave my job and chase this guy I need some reassurances. Honestly, these might have been my first thoughts.
However, for Simon, Peter, James, and John we get a totally different idea from this passage. Something captivated their soul about this man; in fact, that was something supernatural about the whole encounter. In this moment they recognized this was more than just a man, this was the Son of Man, and they left it all to follow Him. Notice, Jesus didn’t call royal men, rich men, or highly educated men. These were hard working, no nonsense, blue collar dudes. They were fishermen who didn’t have time for a lot of small talk. Also, He called them to a job…fish for men. He didn’t call them to a class or to write a blog, or to make youtube videos. He called them to make disciples of men one on one, to preach the gospel to a culture that wanted nothing to do with Christ. Possibly the most remarkable thing of all is Scripture says here they each immediately left their nets and began to follow Jesus. Wow, what faith!
What about you? Jesus’s call hasn’t changed, culture has. He is calling you and I to lay down our lives to follow hard after Him so that others will become followers as well. He doesn’t promise an easy ride, but He does promise to take the ride with us. Will you follow Him even if it means making hard changes and submitting to His authority?
It reminds me of a grand hymn of the faith that goes like this:
Wherever He leads I’ll go, wherever He leads I’ll go
I’ll follow my Christ who loves me so
Wherever He leads I’ll go
Will you follow Him wherever He leads? Will you have that gospel conversation? Will you give that offering? Will you serve in that ministry? Will you confess and turn from that sin? Follow Jesus today, and I can promise you one thing. Just like the original disciples, it won’t be easy, but it will be the greatest joy and adventure of your life.
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”