Sunday, January 23, 2011
Jesus knew as he began that he would need to start somewhere. And so he set out along the edge of the waters of the sea of Galilee, beginning to spread there a message" that the people should "repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand."
As he made those first tentative public speeches and teachings, he was mostly alone, and he quickly came to realize that he needed help. He needed people to help him travel, to organize, to simply be his companions on the journey.
Walking along the edge of the Galilean sea he observed two brothers named Simon and Andrew, and he began to talk with them. He talked and taught, telling the brothers "Follow me, and I will make you fisher's of men!" His divine inspiration was so great that the brothers left behind their nets and began to follow Jesus.
The trio moved along the sea a bit and came upon the fishing ship of a man named Zebedee. Tending the nets with their father were his two sons, James and John, and Jesus again began to speak to the men and called on them to join him, which they did. From this humble beginning has arisen the greatest church in the history of the world.
The very church of the one true God Himself, founded by His only son.
That very first man he had called, the brother once named Simon, had his name changed by Christ prior to his own death to "Peter". Jesus turned over the church to this man saying "You are Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven."
These men were just the first to be called by Christ to his ministry. The first to be asked to hear him, to listen to the message from God, to have faith, and to lay aside all they thought that they had previously known in order to follow Jesus. More would follow. First by the few, then by the dozens, ultimately by the hundreds and by the thousands. Over the course of human history, the same exact call would go out to billions.
A Pharisee named Saul was one that was called in those early years. It was after the crucifixtion of Jesus that his disciples were first trying to spread his word as a group which had become known as "The Way". Saul zealously persecuted Jesus' followers, and in the continuation of this effort was on his way from Jerusalem to Damascus.
On the road to Damascus, Jesus suddenly appeared to Saul and called to him: "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" Saul asked who was speaking, and Jesus replied: "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what to do." Saul ultimately heeded the call, changed his name to 'Paul', and along with Peter became one of the Founding Father's of the church.
But just as human death did not stop Jesus from calling people like Paul, neither has the passage of time stopped people from being called. You are called.
That's right, you reading this right now. The simple fact is that we are all called by the Lord to hear his word and to yield our lives to him. Every single person reading this has heard of Jesus Christ. Every single person reading this knows exactly what Jesus claimed to be: the Truth. The one true way.
In Jesus own words we find the single most important call that any of us have ever received in our lives, and make no mistake, we have all received this call. Jesus himself said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me."
You have been called. Have you heeded his call? If you have, congratulations brother or sister. Continue in your own personal journey during this life in trying to live as he would wish you to live. You will never reach perfection. You will stumble and fall and sin many times, for you are human. But you have heeded the call, accepted the truth, and will be rewarded.
Others of you have not heeded the call. You have either hesitated, or you have outright turned away from the truth. If you are reading this, you still have time to make the single most important choice that you will make in your life here on earth. You still have the choice to heed Jesus' call, to accept the truth, and to begin to try to follow the way as best you can.
From that first day along the sea of Galilee when Jesus called a quartet of fishermen to become fishers of men, the call has continued to ring out around the world. It has reached your ears. The next step is yours. If you are my family member or my friend, if you in any way have impacted my life, I am reaching out to you right now, personally. Heed the call. God bless you.
NOTE: this is the continuation of the Sunday Sermon series of articles that appear regularly at the www.mattveasey.com website, all items in which can be read by clicking on that label link found below here at the website