It was an odd invitation, to say the least. I’m not sure what motivated him to say “yes,” but he did. With vigor. The results were mixed and led to unfathomable results—many wonderful and some frankly awful. I’m curious if you would have found the promise in the invitation that attractive. Would you have said yes? Let’s talk more about this in Deeper Thoughts below.
But first…don’t miss these great invites, all wonderful, I promise:
· We have a brand-new episode in our weekly “Prayer Experiences” video series. Click here to see our beloved Leigh Villaflor share her story of God leading her through immense personal challenges to powerful victory.
· Tomorrow, November 11, 9:00 a.m. – noon, join us for a Mt. Hope campus workday to spruce things up for the holidays. But even better than helping us fix up things around the facility, you’ll be sure to enjoy the fellowship, friendships, and hang-out time. Click here to email Kristie Zoller to sign up, or just c’mon out!!
· Don’t miss “Stories from the Street” at Old Ox Brewing, TOMORROW night, November 11, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Click here for more info and to grab tickets—they’re only $5.00!
· Ladies…Cookie, Tea, and Craft Celebration – Saturday, December 9 from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. RSVP is required by November 22--click here for more info and to sign up!
· Mt. Hope’s Annual Christmas Party and Pageant – Sunday night, December 10 – 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Join us for a delicious potluck dinner and a wonderful Kids Connect dramatic Christmas presentation. More info to come!!
OK…that’s it today for you email skimmers and you who just indiscriminately say yes to everything. BUT…
Some Deeper Thoughts…
It looked like he just walked off his job.
I think sometimes we envision his response as something like an “invasion of the body snatchers.” When you read the story without imagining the surrounding context, it seems like Jesus walked past while he was working, threw out a casual invitation to come along, and he just walked out. It’s almost like he was in a trance or something.
(Do you remember the Jet Blue flight attendant a few years back who had had enough of his job and quit right before the flight took off? He just popped the cabin door open, deploying the emergency escape slide, slid down to the tarmac, and walked back to the terminal…er…actually… to the awaiting airport policeman. Most epic “walk off the job” ever. But I digress… back to Peter…)
He was casting nets from the shore after a long night fishing on the Sea of Galilee. That was hard work, by the way. This was long before motorboats and powered hoists for the nets. It was all rowing, and lifting, and lugging. All night long. And apparently today, it included some overtime along the beach to make up for a lousy overnight deep-sea haul.
As Jesus walked by Simon Bar Jonah and his brother Andrew he called out, “follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
That seems like an odd promise. What is fishing for men, anyway?
But the response—at least as it was recorded—was super-simple. And super-decisive. “At once they left their nets and followed him,” Matthew wrote.
A more academic study would reveal that certain rabbis or philosophers would make such an important invitation in those days. But it wasn’t unexpected, and it certainly was not a casual ask. It was more akin to an invitation to an internship or residency in a prestigious institution. It meant to join an intensive course of study that would utterly consume the student’s life. Those who answered were called “disciples,” which meant something more than just being a schoolboy. It was a position of great distinction. Typically, the more popular and powerful the teacher, the competition to be chosen as a formal disciples was fierce.
With that understanding as a more thorough backdrop, it makes sense why Simon and Andrew would drop everything to accept the invitation. To do otherwise would be to turn down the opportunity of a lifetime.
It turned out, hindsight being 20/20, that it was, in fact, the opportunity of all time.
Word had spread like wildfire about this wild-eyed rabbi from Nazareth. The famed and equally charismatic prophet from the south, John the Baptist, had recently baptized Jesus in a very public display of grandeur, even with reports that a voice from heaven declared Jesus to be God’s own son.
After a 40-day sabbatical in the desert that was anything but restful, Jesus returned to Galilee and began to preach in all the synagogues. He spoke with power and authority—something synagogue goers had never experienced from their rather sleepy and boring pastors. He was dramatic for sure, stepping on the toes of the folks in his home synagogue so much that they tried to throw him off a cliff. And then he got to casting out demons and healing people. The word about him became electric.
But then it got personal. Simon’s mother-in-law was sick. A very high fever had gripped her, and it was likely going to be fatal. They got word to the newly famous miracle worker, and Jesus came to their home. He healed her. And then later that night he healed the entire town from all manner of diseases and demons.
It was after all this that Jesus called Simon and Andrew to follow him. You can read all about it in the Gospel of Luke, chapters three and four.
This makes way more sense in context, does it not?
But I’m still curious. Would you say yes? Would you be willing to refocus your life and invest in such an intensive course of study that would utterly consume everything about you?
And what of that weird suggestion of “fishing for men?” Does that even appeal to you at all?
This Sunday, Pastor Will Cravens will be continuing our fall teaching series, “Effective Faith,” where we’ve been studying the life and letters of the Apostle Peter. Those of you who know Will probably see him as I do—a modern expression of the same bold following of Jesus that Simon Peter lived. As Will shares unfathomable of stories of life-change coming from the most desperate of inner-city streets, you will be stirred.
And the question will be clear. In the context of your life, your home, your circumstances (you don’t have to travel anywhere to follow Jesus, BTW), the question remains. Jesus asks it: “Will you follow me?”
God will help us figure out what that means for our immediate context… this Sunday, 10:00 a.m.
Can’t wait!! Please don’t miss it. It will be a phenomenal morning.
Mt. Hope Pastor