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Amazing words spoken by Jesus

Amazing words spoken by Jesus
Amazing words spoken by Jesus
The Rev. Kathy Brumbaugh
By the Rev. Kathy Brumbaugh, Special Writer

Background text: Mark 1:16-20
Devotional text: John 8:12

As we begin this next series focusing on some of the amazing words of Jesus, we start with the calling of his first four disciples. At that time, when Jesus was about 30 years old (Luke 3:23), he made his home base in Capernaum (along the Sea of Galilee). Jesus went throughout the land preaching in the synagogues and healing the sick, those who were demon-possessed, and those with seizures and paralysis (from Matthew 4:23-25, Luke 4:14, 31-38).

The word spread about this man Jesus, and many began to follow him, believing him to be a new prophet or rabbi or perhaps even the awaited Messiah.

I’ve always had a special place in my heart for the words of Jesus we are going to look at today. For these words eventually led me to seminary and then to become an ordained minister. These are the words spoken by Jesus in Matthew 4:19: “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

It was many years ago and I had been attending a church in Ohio with my husband. They had a special program on New Year’s Eve that we attended. At the end of the worship service, we were all invited to come to the table and choose a card that was faced down to see what God had planned for us in the coming year. The card I picked was Matthew 4:19. It would be more years before I followed God’s calling to seminary, but this scripture was the start.

This same statement began Jesus’ calling of the brothers Simon and Andrew, both fishermen, as they prepared to cast their net into the lake. In Mark 1:17, as well as in the Matthew verse 20, the scripture reads, “at once they left their nets and followed him.”

We also need to be aware of the scripture we find in John 1:35-42, where we read of Andrew as a disciple of John the Baptist. When Jesus came to be baptized by John, John testified to the fact that Jesus was the Son of God. On the next day, seeing Jesus again, John referred to Jesus as “the lamb of God.”

Andrew went home to tell his brother Simon about Jesus. When Simon met Jesus for the first time, Jesus gave him the name “Cephas.” In the Aramaic, the name is translated “Peter.” In the Greek, it means “Rock.” We will eventually read how this name is used by Jesus to identify Peter’s future work.

The John scripture also speaks to us further on about the calling of Philip and Nathanael.
Going back to Mark 1:19-20, we find two more fishermen, James and his brother John, sons of Zebedee. As Jesus was walking along the Sea of Galilee, he saw the brothers with their father preparing to cast their nets from a boat. When Jesus called them, “they immediately left their father in the boat with the hired men and followed Jesus.”

It seems amazing that these men would immediately drop everything to follow Jesus. Undoubtedly, they had heard about his ministry as many in the area had heard him speak or seen him heal the sick. Perhaps they had even heard him speak in their local synagogue.
And then Jesus saw them as he walked along the seashore. Of course, they had to go. There was something about this man who spoke to their hearts.

It may seem confusing as we compare the scriptures. Matthew, Mark and Luke all speak of Jesus going into the desert for 40 days after his baptism by John. There, he was tempted by the devil.

In these scriptures, Jesus went into the desert “full of the Holy Spirit.” It wasn’t until he returned from the desert that he began calling disciples to enter his ministry, although some knew him before he went to the desert.

In John’s gospel, there is no mention of the desert temptations, and that’s OK. It is important to know that the gospels may report some of the happenings in Jesus’ life while leaving others out. Some of the gospels give us more information about the life of Jesus, while others choose to focus solely on certain parts of his ministry.

As we read all of the gospels, we get a fuller understanding of the life of Jesus.
Let’s go back to the calling of his disciples. There had to be something in the way he said his words that drew the men to him. At that time of the calling, they did not truly understand what Jesus’ ministry was all about, yet they were drawn to this man; they knew they had to follow him.

An analogy for the catching of men is found in the act of fishing. As the fish are lifted out of the unclear waters of the lake, they are pulled up into the light.

When Jesus called the fishermen, he was truly offering them new life. The new life would allow them to see the suffering of many, as well as the ability to release that suffering out of darkness into the light of Christ.

John 8:12 gives us these words from Jesus: “I am the light of the world; whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

These were the amazing words of a ministry that would call to many. Today, as believer’s in Christ, he is still calling us. Do we immediately answer that call, or do we let it pass or want to have time to think about it?

God’s calling in our lives can lead us in many ways, including to the life-path God has prepared for us. Or, it could mean that God is calling us to do something easy but specific. We may feel nudged inside to help someone or call someone or give someone we know a needed ride. There are any numbers of ways that God calls us.