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Follow Me

Date: 
February 14, 2016
Speaker: 
Rev. Terry Martinson
Reading: 
John 1:35-42 Matthew 4:18-22

FOLLOW ME

 

THEME: Jesus saw Simon-Peter not as he was, but as he could be… Jesus looks at us in the same way…

 

INTRODUCTION

  • Today is the first Sunday in the season of Lent, the season that leads us to the cross and the resurrection…
  • During Lent, I’m going to preach a series of sermons on Simon-Peter, the outspoken disciple upon whom Jesus built his church.
  • Our knowledge of Simon-Peter comes from the gospels and from the Book of Acts… his name is mentioned 183 times in scripture
    • The name Simon means hearing… the name Peter means rock
    • Simon-Peter lived in Capernaum… by the Sea of Galilee… the place Jesus called “home” during his ministry.
    • Along with his brother, Andrew, and James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon-Peter was a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee.
    • Simon-Peter and Andrew were both disciples of John the Baptist…
  • John pointed out Jesus to Andrew, and Andrew said to his brother, “We have found the Messiah.” He brought him to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon, the son of Jonas, you shall be called Peter, the Rock.”  (Peter is Greek; Cephas is Aramaic)
  • But Peter was anything but a rock in the gospels… he’s not the same Peter we see in the Book of Acts…
  • In the gospels, Peter was often outspoken, strong-willed, impulsive, intense, brash and impetuous… you never had to guess what was on his mind…
  • But he was also an enthusiastic, natural-born leader who was capable of great loyalty… one of the reasons I like Peter was that he never did things halfway… he was always “all in!”
  • He was the first person to confess that Jesus was the Christ… he was often the spokesman for the disciples… and he was part of Jesus’ “inner circle” with James and John.
  • WHY FOCUS A WHOLE SERIES OF SERMONS (8) ON SIMON-PETER?
  • Simon-Peter is a great example of spiritual transformation. (Houck)
  • Simon-Peter’s life often mirrors our lives… his life was a roller coaster, full of ups and downs, with moments of great faith and moments when, quite frankly, his faith failed…
  • Jesus never saw Peter as hopeless… what he did see was Peter’s potential that would be fully realized through the simple touch of the Holy Spirit.
  • In Simon-Peter, Jesus saw a man who lived with his eyes open, who looked for more in life than he had yet seen. (Sueltz)
  • Through his many ups and downs, Jesus remained his loving and faithful guide, and Jesus promised that Peter would be foundational in the building of the church.
  • I want you to remember this: Peter was capable of great loyalty, and so are you!

 

THE STORY UNFOLDS… “FOLLOW ME”  (The Call to Discipleship)

  • As the story is told, “As Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew, his brother, casting a net into the lake – for they were fishermen.” And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him.” (Matthew 4:18-20)
  • Next Jesus called James and John, the sons of Zebedee… his core of disciples was quickly taking shape…
  • They had no idea what following Jesus might mean… They had no idea what they were signing on the dotted line to do… he offered them a job with no pay, and they accepted without hesitation… they had no idea of what they must leave behind… they had no idea where he would lead them… they had no idea how their lives would be forever changed!
  • The disciples were ordinary people… I had a seminary professor who referred to the disciples as “feet people” – simple, working people with no great background and no great prospects for the future, but Jesus accepts people as he finds them. (Sueltz) He saw them not as they were, but as they could become.
  • Good fishermen possess the qualities that lead to good discipleship: patience, perseverance, and courage. Fishermen have an eye for the right moment. They know how to fit the bait to the fish. They have the willingness to keep themselves out of sight.  (Barclay)
  • The word disciple literally means “learner,” but Jesus calls the fishermen, not to sit at his feet and learn, but rather to follow in his footsteps… he calls them to put away their old way of life…
  • To be a disciple is to be an apprentice… to learn from the Master… discipleship is not believing certain facts about Jesus, but following him in concrete ways. (Feasting)
  • The first disciples of Jesus were his companions for his journey, who would later give shape to the church… they heard God’s call and obeyed. (Feasting)
  • A crucial part of discipleship is trusting the One who calls… (Feasting)
  • Simon Peter fell into step with Jesus… the more he listened to him and lived with him, the more he became like him. (Sueltz)
  • But as Simon-Peter followed Jesus, his footsteps often faltered. That’s what makes him like you and me.

 

WHAT WAS JESUS CALLING THE FISHERMEN TO DO?

  • “The call of the disciples is the very beginning of the formation of the church, the community of men, women and children ‘called out’ to be agents of God’s mission in the world.” (Feasting on the Gospel p. 64)
  • When Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James and John, he said to them, “Follow me, and I will teach you how to fish for people.”… He would teach them how to recruit others… just as they had worked in going after fish, now they would be going after people…
  • Charles Williamson said, “Something makes me think that if Jesus were talking to shepherds, whose job it was to care for the sheep, he would probably have said, ‘Follow me, and I will teach you how to shepherd people.’ Or if he were talking to someone who worked in the vineyards tending the grapes, he probably would have said, ‘Follow me, and I will teach you how to make people blossom and grow.’” (Williamson)
  • “It’s like Jesus could see the particular gifts and talents of each person he called, and he knew that those talents could be used for the good of God’s kingdom.”  (Williamson)
  • Jesus called Peter and the others to be disciples and spent 3 years teaching them how to carry on his work.

 

JESUS CALLS US – You and me

  • Jesus is still calling disciples today… but in our crowded, busy lives, is it possible for us to hear his call…
  • Jesus is calling us, you and me, to believe in Him as our Lord and Savior; to stand firm in the truth of his word; to serve him through our loving service to those around us; and to faithfully and joyfully follow wherever he leads. (Chosen for Change)
  • “Through following Jesus, we come to know the fullness of God’s mission and purpose for our lives.” (Feasting – p. 64)
  • Simon-Peter and the others heard Christ’s call and obeyed.
  • Peter was capable of great loyalty, and so are you!

 

Sermon Seeds

  • NRSV Bible – John 1:35-42; Matthew 4:18-22
  • Simon Peter Timeline in Biblical History  (http://totallyhistory.com/biblical-history/simon-peter-the-apostle/ )

 

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