Thursday, September 4, 2008

Following Jesus, Union Eagle Article

Following Jesus

Jesus stood by the Sea of Galilee, teaching the crowds that were following Him. Acoustics were difficult, so He borrowed a boat, asking a local fisherman (Peter) to put out a little ways from shore. This enabled Him to sit down and share stories about God more easily & thoroughly with the people.

Jesus finished His presentation, turned to Peter, telling him to put out into the deep water for a catch. Peter respected this teacher – but He was certainly no fisherman – so explained that they’d worked all night and caught nothing. Jesus just looked at Peter, so he decided to humor his teacher. After all, what was one more cast before bed?

The fish exploded into the net. Peter and his brother could not haul them all in, to they signaled a second boat for help. Both boats were so filled that they began to sink.

Peter, typically, overreacted. “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man”. Jesus assured him that everything would be OK, but a career change was in order: now was the time to fish for men.

Matthew worked the tax booth diligently. Locals needed to file by him at some point during their week; he would remind them of their financial commitment, loudly if necessary. Matthew worked for the Romans, took excessive taxes from rich and poor alike; he was a despised man.

Except by Jesus. He ambled by the booth, looked into Matthew’s eyes, invited him along for a lifetime. The decision didn’t take long – riches with a poor reputation or poverty with a chance for significance – he took the poverty.

He also threw one whale of a party and invited his prior cronies: tax collectors and local sinners. The local leadership was outraged, Jesus was delighted. These were the people who needed Him. He was here for them.

John the Baptist was working the crowd, preaching, teaching, baptizing, arguing with the religious leaders. His ministry had tremendous impact. People were streaming in to hear him, to repent, to seek the Lord’s face for forgiveness. Then Jesus walked by.

John knew that he was not here for his own sake – not to build his own ministry or reputation - rather, to proclaim the one who was to come, Jesus. He pointed Him out to the crowds; then, the next day, specifically pointed Him out to two of His disciples. Look, there He is, follow Him – and they did.

John’s reaction: “He must become greater; I must become less.”

Did your Jesus completely change your life direction? Did He rejoice to reach out to you, and to others very much like and unlike you? Is He so important to you that you are willing to take a lesser role to share Him with others?

He did, and does – and I will - and that has made all the difference.

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