Episode 1. Recruitment Drive
I want you to imagine for a moment that Jesus is having a recruitment drive for disciples. He’s out picking people to follow Him, Hmm … I wonder … what sort of people would He pick? How would He Approach them? And would they actually follow Him? Well, how are you at the beginning of […]
I want you to imagine for a moment that Jesus is having a recruitment drive for disciples. He’s out picking people to follow Him, Hmm … I wonder … what sort of people would He pick? How would He Approach them? And would they actually follow Him?
Well, how are you at the beginning of yet another week? I have to tell you, not withstanding some of the real challenges I’m facing in life and in ministry at the moment, I am so excited to be with you again this week. Because we’re continuing in our series, “A Day At The Office With Jesus”.
Now this is something we kicked off last week, just kind of following Jesus around day by day through Luke’s account, Luke’s Gospel. Seeing the sorts of things He faced and how He handled them and what He’s like. And what we discovered, in fact, is something we discover more and more is that Jesus faced some real challenges in life and ministry too.
The more you read the more you see the opposition He came up against from the devil and his demons, from His own home town Nazareth where the people rejected Him and indeed tried to kill Him. From the religious leaders and the scribes and the Pharisee’s.
Sometimes we get to thinking, “It’s just me, I’m the only one with all these problems in my life”. Well no, we all face challenges Jesus included. And while sometimes those challenges and difficulties can get us down, slow us down, even have us grinding to a dead stop and just kind of sitting there immobilised by fear, our Lord faced each one of them head on.
And the thing that really strikes me is His faith. The faith that Jesus showed in each situation, each confrontation, each trial, each temptation. His faith.
I guess we never much think about Jesus having to have faith but He did and He needed it. Sure He was and still is the Son of God, the creator of everything that was ever created but He laid His glory aside. That power, He laid His omnipotence and His omniscience and His omnipresence all aside to become a man.
A human being with the same physical constraints and limitations and feelings and needs as you and me. And all that He did, He did in faith, knowing who God had made Him to be and what God had made Him to do. And it was that faith that released the Father and the Spirit’s power in Him even though He laid His power and His glory aside.
Now today we’re going to pick up the story at a time when the crowds had been following Jesus around. Huge crowds but it was time for Him to gather some closer disciples. Now a disciple was a learner, a student and normally the way it worked is that common folk like you and me and the people who became the twelve disciples, the fishermen and the tax collectors.
We’d see all these different scribes and teachers of the Law and we’d weigh them up and think, “Wow, you know, I’d love to follow that one, I’d like to be one of his disciples”. Why? Because the more prestigious your scribe the better social position you’d have. The more impressive the people, the other disciples that you’d be rubbing shoulders with.
Think of the business connections, the opportunities for your children that you could get if you were into this particular scribe’s tribe. So you applied and not everyone was accepted and sometimes they put you and your family through some tests. That was the deal.
But it wasn’t Jesus way. He, as He was prone to do, turned that whole system on it’s head. Shock, horror. He went on a bit of a recruitment drive. He actually went up and invited people to follow Him. Completely the wrong way round. Weird, I mean really, really weird.
And the people He chose, well they were not exactly the sort of people you really want in a Scribe’s tribe. Let’s have a listen, beginning at Luke chapter 5:
Once while Jesus was standing behind the Lake of Gennesaret and the crowd was pressing in on Him to hear the word of God, He saw two boats there at the shore of the lake. The fishermen had gone out in them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon and asked him to put out away from the shore.
And He sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When He’d finished speaking He said to Simon, ‘Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch’. Now Simon answered, ‘Master, we’ve worked all night long but haven’t caught anything. If you say so I will let down the nets.’
When they’d done this they caught so many fish their nets were beginning to break so they signalled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled the boats so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it he fell down at Jesus knees saying, ‘Go away from me Lord for I’m a sinful man’.
For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that had been taken. And so also with James and John, sons of Zebedee who are partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Don’t be afraid, from now on you’ll be catching people’. When they brought their boats to shore they left everything and followed Him.
So, got the picture? Huge crowd pressing in on Jesus. Wow, if only our churches were like that. People knocking the doors down to hear the word of God. Ah, I wonder why, no, no, no that’s another whole message.
Now there’s no audio system, no sound systems so He thinks to Himself, “How do I make it so that they can all hear me? I know, there’s a boat. I’ll get out on the water, they’ll be able to hear me”. See water’s fantastic for bouncing sound. When the waters still you can hear someone speaking from quite a distance away. So to get those acoustics working in His favour Jesus commandeers Peter’s boat.
So far as we know this is the first time He’s met Simon Peter. He preaches to the crowd and then this whole miracle with the fish happens. Some carpenter, not a fisherman, a carpenter by whose word this amazing miracle happens. Now the thing that really strikes me here, well there are two things.
The first is this, both what Jesus had to say and the way He behaved had a huge impact on the people. His word and His deeds cut to their hearts. They knew He was for real, that’s why the crowds were following Him. This guy was just amazing, He spoke with such power, with such authority and He healed people.
And the whole thing with the fish, so many fish the boat almost sank. These expert fishermen had been out there all night, they are exhausted but they caught nothing. Then Jesus comes along, the first thing is the huge impact that Jesus had on people through what He said and what He was able to do. The powerful things He did.
And the second, the second is how the people responded. The crowds flocked after Him. They couldn’t get enough and look at the response of these fishermen. When they bought their boats into shore they left everything, everything to follow Jesus. They left this amazingly huge catch that was worth a bundle. They left their boats that were worth even more. They left their businesses as fishermen, no doubt.
The businesses had been handed down from generation to generation to generation to them. They just knew that they’d found what they’d always been looking for. They knew this Jesus was the real deal. Look at Simon Peter, he falls down on his knees and says, ‘Jesus, get away from me. I’m not worthy. I’m a sinful man’. He knows. That’s what happens when we meet Jesus. He doesn’t have to say anything, we just know our sin by looking at Jesus. And they left everything behind to follow Him.
Friend, have you had an encounter like that with Jesus? Have you? Have you met this radical, outrageous saviour? Have you seen Him for what He is? Have you heard Him speak into your life? Have you experienced His healing power, His miraculous touch?
Because it is time, it is time to leave the past behind and to follow Jesus. It is time to take that step and if that’s something that you want to do today then let’s take that step right now.
We have heard today about Jesus, your Son. We’ve heard the good news of Jesus. We know in our heart of hearts that He is the real deal, that He is your Son, that He came to save us. And so today we want to say thank you, we know our sin and we’re sorry. We turn away from it and we come to you, to follow you wherever you may lead.
Today we give our very lives to you. Show us the way. Fill us with your Holy Spirit. Make us fishers of men and women. In Jesus mighty name we pray.