SERMON OF THE WEEK
January 8, 2012
Next Sunday is the first Sunday after the baptism of our Lord (or "Danaha" -January 6th)). Gospel reading is from Mathew 4:12-22.
Theme: "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men" - (Mathew4:18)
"Jesus Begins to Preach
12 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali 14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:
15 Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles
16 the people living in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.[a]
17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.
Jesus Calls His First Disciples
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 Come, follow me, Jesus said, and I will send you out to fish for people. 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him." (Mathew 4:12-22)
The central core purpose of Christian life is outlined in these verses: Evangelize, Incorporate, and Disciple. Jesus says, go therefore and make disciples of all nations; evangelize with the strength of the gospel and teach the world about the kingdom of God; and follow me, I will make you fishers of men.
As Jesus was walking by the sea of Galilee, he saw two brother casting a net into the sea. They were fisherman. Jesus said to the, "Follow me, and I Will make you fishers of men."
In order to understand this command, we need to look at the following questions.
(1) What does it mean to follow Jesus? Follow me is an invitation to the believer for services. The decision to follow Jesus is not a simple task. It is to set aside one's personal goals and pleasures in order to embrace the purposes for which God created us. The purpose is to know God in a personal way and make disciples by teaching them Christ's commandments. To follow Christ means to give up personal affections, goals and priorities.
When Jesus called Peter and Andrew, their goal was to become successful fishermen. In asking them to forsake their goal, Jesus commanded them to follow him and would make them fishers of men's souls.
(2) How does one become fishers of men? When Jesus told Peter to cast his nets on the other side of the boat, then Peter said "Master, we have fished all night and caught nothing." But when they used the very effective method of using the light of Jesus, fish were attracted to it.
(3) How to fish for Christ? Jesus uses an effective method to draw people to himself. Apostle John quotes Jesus in 8:12, "I am the light of the world, he who follows me shall not walk in darkness but in the light of life."
Just as the fish is attracted to the light of the disciples, God wants people to be attracted to his light shining through the disciples. The light of every believer is the presence of Jesus in their lives. Paul says in Corinthians 4:6-7, "For it is God who commanded light to shine out of darkness and who has shown in their hearts to give the lights of the glory of God."
(4) What does it require to follow Jesus? It is a call that requires complete and immediate attachment to God. Peter and Andrew "left their nets." James and John left their father. The requirement for following Jesus are not the same for everyone. Basically it is the willingness to exchange their affections, goals and priorities in life.
Peter was a disciple who actually left everything to follow Jesus. However, he failed Jesus by denying him on the night of Jesus' arrest. A few days later, Peter with some of his disciples decided to go for fishing. They got out to do the fishing but couldn't catch a single fish. Jesus calls them from the shore and ends up performing a miracle by filling their nets with fish. After they have enjoyed a fish breakfast together, Jesus comes up to Peter and asks, "Do you love me more than these fish, nets, and the bread?
All of us can also imagine Jesus asking us the same question. Jesus may mention our family, all our assets, cash, position, career and all that. Do we love Jesus more than all our possessions?
Jesus wants us to respond something like, "Yes, Lord. I love you more than all my possessions. And I want to prove it with my actions. I am prepared to follow you, for I am your disciple.
Rev. Dr. V Kurian Thomas, Valiyaparambil