马太福音4: 18 耶稣在加利利海边行走，看见弟兄二人，就是那称呼彼得的西门和他兄弟安得烈，在海里撒网；他们本是打鱼的。19 耶稣对他们说：「来跟从我，我要叫你们得人如得鱼一样。」20 他们就立刻舍了网，跟从了他。21 从那里往前走，又看见弟兄二人，就是西庇太的儿子雅各和他兄弟约翰，同他们的父亲西庇太在船上补网，耶稣就招呼他们，22 他们立刻舍了船，别了父亲，跟从了耶稣。
Matthew 4:18-22: As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him. 21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
What impresses me today as I read these verses is the “at once” and “immediately.” Jesus called ordinary fisherman to be his disciples. These were not highly educated or well-spoken people. They were the “blue collar” people of Jesus’ day. What made them think that they could become the fishers of men that Jesus called them to be? There must have been something so compelling about Jesus and what he asked them to do that they just couldn’t say “No.”
There is something compelling about Jesus, isn’t there? His love compels us to do what we don’t feel comfortable doing. It’s hard to share our faith with others. Talking about Jesus is like trying to speak a foreign language to our sinful nature. But his love compels us. It compels us to speak the truth in love. It compels us to go where we never would have dreamed of going. It compels us to give us the best of our time and abilities. We just can’t say, “No,” to Jesus!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you have called me to follow you, and have made me a fisher of people. I pray that you will give me the desire that the disciples had to leave it all behind and to serve you with all that I am and I have. I ask this in your name. Amen.
马太福音4:23 耶稣走遍加利利，在各会堂里教训人，传天国的福音，医治百姓各样的病症。24 他的名声就传遍了叙利亚。那里的人把一切害病的，就是害各样疾病、各样疼痛的和被鬼附的、癫痫的、瘫痪的，都带了来，耶稣就治好了他们。25 当下，有许多人从加利利、低加坡里、耶路撒冷、犹太、约旦河外来跟着他。
Matthew 4:23-25: 23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues,proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria,and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. 25 Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.
It must have been a joy for Jesus to carry out his ministry and see the success of the Word as he taught the people. There would come a time when many of those who followed Jesus rejected him because he wasn’t the Messiah they were expecting, the national hero who would lead them to victory over the Romans. It still happens today. People think that following Jesus will make their life better in every way. When it doesn’t happen, then they reject Jesus for not giving them what they want. Jesus never promised us that we would be able to live a charmed life if we follow him!
But at this moment, Jesus was experiencing some success in his ministry. It must have been fun to heal a blind man and see the expression on his face when he could see for the first time! It must have been fun to watch a man with crippled legs get up and walk. It was a thrill to preach to crowds and teach them all day long.
God’s Word still brings success, and rejection, today. Our motivation cannot be the success we might experience in proclaiming the Word, or we will give up when we experience rejection. We just plant the seeds and let the Holy Spirit see how they will grow. And the more seeds we plant, the more opportunities the Spirit will have to make God’s kingdom grow. So success or not, plant more seeds!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, give me boldness to proclaim your Word wherever and whenever I can. And when it comes to success, I will leave that up to you. Only give me opportunities to plant more seeds! I pray today that you will bless our congregation in Cedar Rapids as we begin services at a second location in North Liberty. I ask this in your name. Amen.