The Light Week 3 - Leaving Our Nets




Season of Epiphany - Series: The Light

The Light of the World has come; what do we do now?

This series will help us learn more about walking in the Light and being lights in the world. 

Today is the Third Sunday of Epiphany 

We will read one of the accounts of Jesus’ calling his disciples and examine how remarkable it was that Jesus called them, and they answered the call. 

But first, let me ask you a serious question. 

Have any of you at any time in your life had a fantasy about being rescued from your job---when your job stinks? 

And when I mean rescued, I mean rescued like Debra Winger in An Officer And a Gentlemen type of rescue.  Which was parodied in an amazing way on The Office. 

I used to sell appliances at Circuit City.  I worked 5 days a week, many of which were "bell-to-bell" shifts.  This meant I was at work before the store opened and stayed there until it closed. 

There was a lot of standing around.  I have to say, if Richard Gere had shown up in his white uniform to carry me out of there, I would have gone.  

But what if what you do for a living is what you need to do to live?  Maybe it's a family business.  Or you are just that close to retirement.  

I mean, secretly deep down inside you might have thought your life would be different.  You had dreams when you were young, but you did what you had to do in order to support yourself and your family.  

What then?  What if someone showed up and said, "Hey, leave all this and come with me?"  There was no assurance of how you would make a living, and there was no way of knowing if the person was on the level when they offered you something more in life. 

Would you go? 

This is the conundrum that the disciples of Jesus face in the story we are going to be reading today.  And here's what I want to hold up in front of us throughout this sermon: 

THE LIGHT CAN CHANGE THE COURSE OF YOUR LIFE

Before we dig into our passage today, let me give you a little backstory on fishing, family business, and the disciples. 

First, there was a severe economic problem afoot in the Galilee region.  Theologian Dominic Crossan points out that if you ever wonder why Jesus chose to minister in a small 3.5 square mile triangle of ancient Israel, it's because of fishing. 

The Roman Empire was doing everything it could to commercialize fishing and to put all of the fishing concerns under the control of the government.  

One of the ways that they were doing this was by raising taxes on fishing to an exorbitant level.  Matthew 

This is an economically stressed area of Israel, and Jesus chose it to be the base of his operations. he also chose some of the oppressed and stressed fishermen to be his followers.  

Let's read. 

14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

Jesus arrives on the scene preaching John's sermons, but with a twist.  John preached about the coming kingdom of God, and Jesus preached that it had arrived. 

16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 18 At once they left their nets and followed him.

19 When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20 Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.

"At once" or "Without delay." How do you leave your livelihood, especially when there's so much at stake?  This is precisely what made them leave.  They had run out of hope. 

And what do you think the family members had to say about this?  They had to have been pretty upset about it.  We know that Peter had a wife, and some of the other disciples may have had as well.  

Can you imagine that conversation?

But there's something else about this calling of the disciples that needs to be explored.  

Jesus chose his followers—and they left everything to follow him.  Their encounter with Jesus changed the course of their lives—and of history. 

A story about chosenness

What do we learn from this? 
1. You might think you know when you’ve been chosen, but your first step determines your direction. 
2. The peace that passes understanding is kind of a requirement. 
3. What you leave behind is not forgotten or despised, it’s part of you.  
4. Chasing after Jesus is never a bad idea.  

THE LIGHT CAN CHANGE THE COURSE OF YOUR LIFE

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