Saturday, February 18, 2023

Sermon on the transfiguration.

 

Matthew 17:1-13 (NIV) After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

6 When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.

9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

10 The disciples asked him, “Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?”

11 Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. 12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.

 

I have spoken on this passage before.

Which means, I was not as keen to speak on it again. But with prayer I felt like, though it might be more difficult to speak on this again, I would do my best.

 

Some of the things I will say are things I have said before. Please forgive me for this.

 

The setting of this event after chapter 16 which includes the comment on the yeast of the Pharisees (meaning the teaching). As well as Peter declaring that Jesus is truly the Messiah, as well as Jesus rebutting Peter for rebuking him.

 

It is a tricky road sometimes dealing with those we love. How much do we allow a grandchild to keep hitting us in innocent play which becomes too painful as the blows get harder, at some point the grandchild must be taught not to do that.

 

Jesus reveals the true pain of the future during which he will be killed as a criminal, but then rise again. Peter cannot accept that future and tries to rebuke Jesus.

 

Jesus returns with the difficult but true words, get behind me Satan.

 

And the reality is that Satan does present opposition especially when we are on the right track. In this case he approaches Jesus through his loved disciple Peter, who he convinces to fear the necessary suffering death and resurrection of his Lord.

 

And may I briefly speak on the yeast of the Pharisees.

 

As far as my mind allows, that is the only place that the teaching of the Pharisees is directly addressed as a general thing. Yes, Jesus corrects various points in their teaching pointing out their hypocrisy, but here he is talking about their teaching in general, and like yeast, this teaching will affect individuals and then whole congregations.

 

How do we recognize this yeast today?

 

My quick answer is that anything that highlights the human role in our salvation and benefit to humanity and passes over the great grace of forgiveness, is yeast to be wary of.

 

Even recently I listened to and was moved by a sermon on following God, but a small point of not expecting God to answer us if we have bad areas in our lives, in the end triggered pride and then stress. And in the end unsettled me rather than helped me in my walk.

 

Let’s be careful; of this yeast. Both as teachers and as listeners.

 

So, we get to chapter 17 and here, 6 days later, I’m not sure what the significance of that time lapse is, but Jesus takes only 3 of his disciples up a mountain.

Why only 3?

Why not all?

 

Remember there had been arguments among them as to who was the greatest.

 

Would this add fuel to that argument?

 

Or were these the 3 that most needed to experience this event?

 

Right now, in Asbury University, in Kentucky, a chapel service has become a nonstop worship prayer and gathering event, some might call a revival, with many young people experiencing the presence of God. God has decided to bless this group of people in this way. He knows who needs what, and when.

 

It seems genuine to me.

 

Jesus knows what he is up to, and that is one thing I am coming to more quickly as I get older. I don’t need to know the “why” of Jesus actions; he knows best. He really is in tune with his Father, and is prayerfully fully-filled of the Holy Spirit, and really is spot-on in his day-to-day and moment-to-moment decisions. He is not hesitating, or second-guessing. And like us ( as people of faith, the gift ), he is joyfully and confidently walking in faith and trust, and purpose.

 

He knows what is ahead (the cross), and does not become sullen as a result, instead he celebrates every event.

 

So with Peter, James and John he climbs the mountain.

 

And once there, at the top, and if we look at the Luke account, after some prayer time, Jesus is suddenly transfigured.

 

Changed, shape-shifted, the description is "dazzling white clothes and shining face".

This is, in my opinion, a more dazzling transformation than when he was resurrected. There is no similar description of the resurrected Jesus. To Mary, he looked like the gardener.

 

And as soon as he is transformed, there appear two giants of faith, long passed, but now alive and speaking with Jesus. Moses, and Elijah. How these two men, long passed are able to now be present, only God knows, but here they are.

 

Moses was the one to whom God gave the ten commandments to, and Elijah was the great prophet who brought back to life the widow's son, and also destroyed the prophets of baal on mount Carmel.

 

1 Kings 17:21-24 (ESV) Then he stretched himself upon the child three times and cried to the LORD, “O LORD my God, let this child's life come into him again.” 22 And the LORD listened to the voice of Elijah. And the life of the child came into him again, and he revived. 23 And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper chamber into the house and delivered him to his mother. And Elijah said, “See, your son lives.” 24 And the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth.”

 

1 Kings 18:20-21 (ESV) So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel. 21 And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.”

 

 

These 2 great prophets are here speaking with Jesus, and as I said once before, Peter, James and John might have been awestruck being in the presence of Moses and Elijah, but Moses and Elijah would have been awestruck being in the presence of Jesus.

Who would we consider the greater?

 The Sunday school answer is of course Jesus. Which is correct (it is right to name him in every situation). But let me refer to Hebrews and to James

 

Hebrews 3:1-6 (NIV) 1 Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. 2 He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. 3 Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. 4 For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. 5 “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,” bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future. 6 But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.

 

James 5:17 (ISV) Elijah was a person just like us, and he prayed earnestly for it not to rain, and rain never came to the land for three years and six months.

 

 

 

 

 

Clearly the bible tells us that Jesus is greater than Moses. And Jesus states it himself

 

Matthew 12:6 (ESV) I tell you, something greater than the temple is here.

Matt 12:42(ESV) e ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.

 

Greater than Jacob etc.

 

Greater than Abraham.

 

 

So, Moses and Elijah are blessed to be in the presence of Jesus, and I want to say to you brothers and sisters, one day soon, you and I too will be blessed to be in the presence of Jesus.

 

So as Moses and Elijah speak with Jesus, and from Luke’s account they are discussing his departure, Peter finds a point where he feels able to maybe interrupt and suggest to Jesus that it is a great idea that he had taken himself and the other 2 disciples up with him, because now they can build a tent for Moses, and for Elijah, and for Jesus.

 

Well, he must have been there for some reason.

Maybe Peter is trying to interpret what Jesus had said to Peter about being the rock on which he would build his church???

 

Though I want to point out that the rock was Peter’s faith and the church is not a building.

 

Actually, Jesus is the rock.

 

So, after Peter imposes his suggestion of his purpose in this whole strange event, a bright cloud envelops them all and a voice, which is clearly the voice of God the Father speaks.

(Peter later refers to this event in his second letter which we read earlier.)

 

In these words, God is apparently very brief and to the point.

 

Is this how God always speaks?

 

If we are ever fortunate enough to hear a direct and personal word from God, I think it will be brief.

 

But also unforgettable.

 

When we hear God’s voice, what he tells us is unforgettable.

 

And here is what he says. He says three things

 

1.     This is my Son, whom I love

2.     I am very pleased with him

3.     Listen to him.

 

Of course, he is talking about Jesus

 

What can we gather form these 3 words

 

To be the Son of God means to be of the same nature as God the Father, and we have here a revelation of the trinity. The trinity being the word we use to encapsulate the three-personhood one-God understanding of our Christian God; Father, Son and Spirit.

Jesus is fully man, yet he is also fully God and here, God the Father states that Jesus is his son, is the Son. That makes him God. I don’t think this was understood at that point by the three disciples, but I still wish to mention this point. Still on that point, what we believe as Christians,  is that, unlike us, Jesus is not a creation of God. We are all created beings descendants of Adam, Jesus is not dependant on Adams heritage, though in choosing to become man he is truly human. Which is what the word incarnate indicates.

 

He became incarnate, a man, at one point in history, but was always the son of God.

 

In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God.

 

Not only is Jesus God’s son, but God the Father, loves him.

 

Love is such a widely used term, with wide meanings depending on it’s context.

 

We’ve all experienced love and we all express love in one form or other.

 

But God’s love is not necessarily the same as our love.

I want to make 2 points here.

Firstly that the love of God is fully other person centered. Which is to say it is not selfish love, or not manipulative love. But it is transforming. 1 Corinthians 13 describes God’s love.

I have been taught the Greek word "Agape", which is one of the more important words used in the new testament for love. When 1 John says that God is love, the word is “agape”.

The other Greek word is eros. And that word implies contractual love. In other words, I will love you as long as you do such and such. (And there is also the word philios, which is brotherly love, or family love.)

 

There is a big difference between a contract and a covenant. That is a whole sermon, but I want to highlight the fact that marriage, in the Christian sense, is not a contract, but a covenant.

 

Human love is most often the contractual type, wanting something in return, or trying to manipulate a situation or a relationship.

 

As a church we must do our best to guard against this and recognize it when it rises up.

 

Cults are full of manipulative love. Churches should be presenting agape love, which means we do what we do out of love and gratitude towards God and accept the outcome, accept it when people choose to come or go, and celebrate each situation, knowing God has his hand in every situation. That is not to say we don’t stand up for righteousness or godliness, and certainly we teach the truth.

 

2. I am very pleased with him.

 

God derives pleasure from his son. Everything about Jesus is in harmony with the Joy, pleasure, purpose and perfect plan of God our Father.

 

Do we derive pleasure from our children and grandchildren?

 

What gives us the most pleasure from our children?

 

When they show their love to us?

 

When they obey us?

 When they walk in faith?

 

When they endure through difficult times?

 

When they achieve important goals?

 

For some parents, watching their children do bad things actually pleases them.

 

Not for Christians.

 

But in Gods case, everything that Jesus does, pleases God the father.

 

Everything.

 

Which means if we truly wish to follow God, we must follow Jesus.

 

If we want to know what pleases God, we look to Jesus.

 

But we cannot do other than trust Jesus to lead and guide us.

 

We cannot repeat Jesus action, it is once and for all.

 

True repentance, in my opinion, is following Jesus

 

3. Listen to him.

 

How do we listen to Jesus?

 

The bible,

What we hear at Church

What our parents tell us, what our children tell us. What godly people tell us

 

In our prayer time,

 

In the quiet urges of the Holy Spirit

 

In the loud urges of the Holy Spirit

 

Not in our bodily urges. 

Though sometimes even our bodies try to point us in the right direction (don’t kick against the spines) (NIV) It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’

 

So, God our Father tells the three disciples and Moses and Elijah, (if they are still there) to listen to Jesus.

 

Doesn’t matter what the Pharisees say, or what Moses says, or what Buddha, or Mohamed or Confucious, or Elon Musk, or Stephen Hawkins or Joe Romeo or anyone else says, it is what Jesus says that counts. It is Jesus who we listen to.

 

And when you hear his voice, listen.

 

At that point, when the 3 disciples heard the voice of God they fell face down on their knees, terrified.

 

Why were they terrified?

 

They had just seen Jesus transfigured, Moses, Elijah alive and speaking with Jesus, and they were not terrified, but the bright cloud of Glory and the voice of God was terrifying.

 

I think they understood the seriousness of seeing and hearing God. And knew that their lives were in danger.

 

The Bible states that you cannot see the face of God and live;

 

But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” (exodus 33)

 

So, they were terrified.

 

But suddenly the cloud lifted and there was only Jesus, the disciples are still crouched over and cowering I believe, but Jesus came and touched them.

 

The touch of Jesus strengthens us, saves us, heals us, and transforms us.

 

Jesus, at this point  could have been basking in the experience, but no, he was interested in, and concerned for his three ordinary followers, Peter, John and James.

This shows the heart of Jesus, our Lord.

 

In Isaiah and in Hebrews we read about Jesus before his father.

What does he say?

 

Here am I and the children you have given me.

 

Isaiah 8:18 (NIV) Here am I, and the children the LORD has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the LORD Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion.

 

Hebrews 2:13 (NIV) And again,

“I will put my trust in him.”

And again he says,

“Here am I, and the children God has given me.”

 

And what of the post resurrection Jesus in the Gospel of John.

 

John 20:17-18 (NIV) Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

 

So Jesus is all for obeying his Father and completing the work that his father gave him, but completely consistent with this is his complete heart for his disciples, his followers, his weak and stumbling disciples. Jesus is all for us.

 

For God so Loved (Agape) the world (us) that he gave his one and only begotten son (Jesus) so that whoever believes in him (us) should not perish but have everlasting life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Sermon from Matthew Chapter 4, in particular, on repentance.

Matthew 4:12-25 (NIV) 12 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— 14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:

15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,

the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,

Galilee of the Gentiles—

16 the people living in darkness

have seen a great light;

on those living in the land of the shadow of death

a light has dawned.”

17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

18 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.

Jesus Heals the Sick

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.

 

 

This morning’s reading is from the gospel of Matthew chapter 4. It describes the start of Jesus ministry, after his baptism by John, when the Holy Spirit descended on him like a dove, and heaven opened up and God, the Father spoke, “This is my son with whom I am well pleased.”

Jesus was then led into the wilderness for 40 days, where he fasted and was tempted by the devil. He resisted the temptations, and on returning, it says that having heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee.

 

So, it wasn’t very long after John baptised Jesus, that he was put in prison by Herod.

 

If baptising Jesus was the peak of John’s career, he was not able to “enjoy” that event for very long.

 

Now, in chapter 2 of Matthew it says that when Joseph returned from Egypt (with Mary and the child Jesus, after the first Herod who killed all the young boys in Bethlehem had died) but he heard that Archaleus, the son of the previous Herod was reigning in Jerusalem, and as well as being warned in a dream (Joseph had a number of important dreams), he withdrew to Galilee, living in a town called “Nazareth”.

 

So, Joseph had some fear of Herod’s son, as well as God’s warning to cause him to head for Nazareth, where Jesus grew up.

 

In chapter 4, Jesus also avoids Jerusalem, in the wake of John’s arrest and also heads for Galilee.

 

Was Jesus, like Joseph, afraid?

 

I don’t think so. He had just spent 40 days in the desert starving and being tempted by the devil himself, later he walked straight up to the powerful demoniac who broke chains.

But Jesus was practical, and had a mission to accomplish, so he headed for Galilee, but this time he didn’t stay in Nazareth, he probably passed through Nazareth, and went on another 50km or so, and lived in Capernaum.

 

And, apart from anything else, he was fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah, which stated that the land of Zebulun and Naphthali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the gentiles,

The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned.

 

So this is what Isaiah said many years before (? 600 years before).

 

And here is the young, vibrant, motivated Jesus fulfilling this prophecy with all his might.

 

What is “Zebulun and Naphthali”?

 

Areas of the promised land.

 

But also, the names of 2 sons of Jacob, (who was also known as Israel, after he wrestled with God).

 

Remember there were 12 sons

 

In Genesis, Many, many years before Jesus’ incarnation, we read that Jacob moved from the promised land to Egypt because of the great famine, which Pharaoh had dreamt about and Joseph interpreted. Which led to Joseph being in command. But 400 years after Joseph, Moses, a descendant of Levi, one of Joseph’s brothers, rescued the Israelite nation from Egypt (who had made them slaves) and took them back to the promised land, and the land was divided amongst the 12 tribes, each region named after the sons of Israel, except that the Levites, who were appointed as priests and were not given land, instead they were provided for through the sacrificial system. But Joseph was given 2 allocations after his 2 sons Manasseh and Ephraim. So, there were still 12 areas. (see slide)

 

Naphthali and Zebulun were 2 of them by the sea of galilee.

 

And Jesus then lived, temporarily, in Capernaum.

 

If you look at Capernaum now, there isn’t much to see. (see slides)

 

But Jesus didn’t need much, did he?

 

He didn’t need a big shopping centre, or a car or a boat.

 

And even today there isn’t much to see, a few churches that mark certain sites, like where Peter lived, the place where Jesus gave the “sermon on the mount”, and the place where he fed the 5000.

 

So, it is ‘touristy”, but even though it’s touristy, it’s not a metropolis today, it still looks pretty sparse.

 

So, what did Jesus do there at Capernaum and Galilee?

 

He preached.

 

Both open air and in the synagogues.

 

(They have found ruins of synagogues, which is important historically.)

 

In chapter 5 to 7 of Matthew we have a pretty long sermon with lots of teaching that Jesus gave, probably not all at once. But it starts with the famous “beatitudes”.

They are the blessing announcements, starting with “blessed are the poor in spirit, because the kingdom of heaven is for them”

 

But in this passage in chapter 4 the stated preaching of Jesus is; “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” Which is very much like what John was preaching.

 

So, I would like to look at what that means.

 

The Kingdom of heaven, or the kingdom of God, is not a geographical area, though kingdoms are often defined geographically.

 

It is the place where God’s rule and authority are in place.

 

Now of course God is in authority in all the earth and in fact, in all of the universe, because he created everything, (and by the way, we heard from Hebrews and Colossians and other passages that Jesus himself, before he became man, was the creator, or co-creator with the Holy Spirit and God the Father.)

 

But the implication here is that, at this point, in this place, God’s rule was not being respected, or considered.

 

It’s a bit like the story we heard about the car being pulled up by police on the central coast somewhere and the occupants telling the police that they had no jurisdiction there. Meaning that they considered their car, a part of a different country that they ruled.

There are a few crazies out there with this type of attitude.

 Well that didn’t work, did it? Apparently, the police officer pulled out the window and probably arrested the occupants of the car because they did have jurisdiction there. God has jurisdiction everywhere doesn’t he?

 

What about in the pubs?

 

What about in a brothel?

 

Or a drug house?

 

Or a Hindu temple? In a remote part of India?

 

But this is the promised land, and both Isaiah and Matthew describe the land as living in the shadow of death, in darkness.

 

The implication is that they are actually far from God, whether by choice or other.

 

And I suggest that there was some choice in it.

 

What about Narrandera?

 

Are we in darkness?

 

Does the rule of God apply in Narrandera? In NSW? In Australia?

 

Do we follow Gods rules?

 

What about euthanasia, what about marriage? And I’m not even talking about gay marriage.

What about the name of Jesus?

 

Do we respect that name?

 

And do we respect the bible, God’s word?

 

I wonder what it was like in Galilee at the time of Jesus?

 

Jesus message was that they should repent.

 

What does it mean to repent?

 

The first answer is; “turn around.”

 

We have just had a new year, and many people do still make resolutions.

Is that repentance?

 

Sometimes repentance is simply stopping.

 

It can be really hard to stop. If I’m in an argument with my wife, it is hard for me to stop.

 

But that is what I should do.

 

But is repenting more than simply turning around, turning over a new leaf? Stopping the bad thing you are doing, maybe being sorry for doing it, and I’ve said in the past, being prepared to face the consequences of your actions, maybe even handing yourself in for a crime you have committed and gotten away with in the past, or confessing your guilt and apologising.

Yes, all of these things are repentance. But I think there is still more to true repentance. This came to me as I was preparing this, and I’ve never said this before, but I think true repentance is actually following Jesus.

 

You can decide to be good. You can decide to stop smoking or stop drinking or stop arguing or stealing or hurting others or scheming for whatever, and taking advantage of others etc, but the difference really happens when you decide to follow Jesus. I think that is what brings about proper repentance.

 

You see when you decide to follow Jesus you are saying that:

Jesus knows best,

what he says must be right,

how he tells us to behave and the way he tells us to live our lives is the right way to do things.

 

That is repentance,

 I think.

 

So, when we repent we become Christians, and when we become Christians we repent,

And following Jesus sorts out our character and our plans etc. In other words, as we mature as Christians we repent again and again, putting away old habits, and realising new habits also need to be put away.

 

What I haven’t said yet is that repentance is a gift that the Holy Spirit gives.

 

When the Holy Spirit is present he convicts us of sin and righteousness and judgement but he doesn’t leave us quivering in fear, he opens our eyes to the truth of who Jesus is and what he has done for us, and then we simply fall into place in our following of our wonderful saviour.

 

Remember the woman caught in adultery, in the end it was just her and Jesus, and he asked her, does no-one condemn you?

 

She answered no, and Jesus answered, nor do I condemn you, now go in peace and sin no more.

 

The Holy Spirit is God, and he also convicts us, but he does not condemn us, instead he shows us the forgiveness that Jesus has bought at great price for us, and we are then motivated to repent and sin no more.

 

So, in my theory, if you repent, you become a Christian, and you come to church.

 

If you repent, you love the bible

 

If you repent you love other Christians

 

If you repent, you love.

 

It’s not actually a burden, not a heavy one anyway, Jesus tells us his burden is light.

 

We may lose face, but that’s probably the best thing that could happen to us.

 

So, getting back to the passage, Jesus starts by preaching repentance, because God’s rule is coming back into importance, his kingdom is near, he is reasserting his control of our lives in this region.

 

And as he walked along the shore he saw Peter and his brother Andrew and he said come follow me. And they repented and followed him.

 

Now it doesn’t say here that they repented but if you read Luke 5 we find the story of how they had been fishing all night and then probably listening as Jesus preached from the boat, and then reluctantly they agreed to throw out their nets once more.

 

It wouldn’t surprise me if up to that point Peter had been angry about the lack of fish, and maybe about this religious bloke using their boat to preach religion, and that while Jesus preached about the goodness of God, he had been thinking that if God is so good, why won’t he make my life easier and give me some fish for a change? (Now I’ve just made all that up, but you can see what I’m getting at.) So, Jesus (who seemed to know what people were thinking) after he had finished preaching, told them to push out a little and throw out the nets once more, which they reluctantly did. But suddenly there were so many fish the boat was going to sink and they needed more boats and more fishermen.

 

Peter should have been excited, he’d never had such an experience, but instead he felt convicted in his heart of his sinfulness, which I do know because it says in Luke that he told Jesus to go away from him because he (Peter) is a sinful man.

That is repentance, confessing the truth of what we are truly like,

and then Jesus said come follow me, he didn’t tell Peter off, he didn’t care about his sinfulness, and Peter did follow, that is true repentance. He left everything to follow Jesus

 

Now leaving everything does not mean we sell our houses and leave our jobs, although it does mean that for some of us, but It does mean that everything in our lives comes second to Jesus.

 

Everything in our lives comes second to Jesus.

 

That is repentance.

 

I think.

 

Simple?

 

 

 

It is, when the weight of our sin drives us to the only one who can carry the weight of our sin.

 

Acts 4:12 (NIV) Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

 

Now in Matthew there are less details, certainly less painful details. Matthew simply states that as Jesus walked along the shore, he saw 2 brothers Simon (Peter) and Andrew, casting nets into the lake, because they were fishermen, and he told them follow me and I will make you fishers of men, and eventually(?) they followed.

 

No, it says “at once”.

 

Once you can see who Jesus is, there is no hesitation.

 

So, Jesus is in the business of “catching men.” (He tells the disciples that he will make them fishers of men.)

 

That’s what Jesus does, and that is what he is still doing.

 

By “catching” we don’t mean enticing us into some strange cult that turns us into “weirdos”.

 

No, it means we become people who love God and are willing to serve others out of love, and willing to suffer out of our love for Jesus. We love, because he first loved us.

 

He also called 2 others, James and John, and they also repented.

 

And then Jesus went throughout Galilee teaching in the synagogues, preaching good news (that’s the net) of the kingdom. And healing every disease and sickness among the people. And Jesus became famous in that area.

 

The people in darkness have seen a great light, and that light is the life of men.  Without Jesus, we have no light and no life, and no way, and no truth. No way or light or life to anywhere and certainly not to God but with Jesus we do have light and life and the way to God.

 

So, let’s all of us repent and follow Jesus.

 

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life!

 

 

Ephesians 2:12-14 (NIV) remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

14 For he himself is our peace

 

Luke 24:32 (NIV) They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”