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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

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following jesus

Follow Me-Straightaway They Followed

Matthew 4:17-22 

From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

Here we see Jesus walking the shores of the Sea of Galilee forming His church from among those he chose. In this story, He chose and called Peter, Andrew, John and James, who were all commercial fishermen in the Sea of Galilee.

Even though this was probably not the first encounter these men had had with Jesus, their response was nonetheless astounding. It’s likely that they had all heard the previous preaching of John the Baptist. It seems Andrew at least had followed John the Baptist for a while. Whatever the full background, at the time of their calling, the four men were simply busy earning their living as fishermen.

Here is where I want to depart a bit from what I usually hear as the narrative concerning these four men. Almost without fail, I see them characterized as “ignorant, unlearned fishermen.” Wellllllllllll….maybe, maybe not. I don’t find anything to indicate that any of them were part of the intellectual elite of the time, but a reading of Scripture tells us that there was more to them than just the label of, “ignorant, unlearned fishermen.”

Fishing could be a lucrative business on the Sea of Galilee, and at least in the case of John and James, the sons of Zebedee, there is plenty of reason to suspect this is so. In the Synagogue at Capernaum, there is a bench or a furnishing if you will, apparently purchased by a man identified as a Zebedee. The family had purchased a pew in the church. Clearly, service in the Synagogue was a part of their lives. We see in Mark’s account of the calling of John that the family business had employees. (Mark 1:20) John seemingly had a home in Jerusalem, because after the Crucifixion he took Mary, the mother of Jesus, there. (John 19:27) John seemed to have known the High Priest because this enabled Peter to be in the courtyard of his home as Jesus was under arrest. (John 18:16) John, at least was from a family of some means.

How does this change the common narrative here? Well poor, ignorant and unlearned young men are ripe for the picking to join up with any radical movement that seems to offer them a way out; affluent young men from successful families…not so much.

Yet, in our story, we see that they DID give it all up. John, James, Peter and Andrew all dropped their nets, abandoned their family business, and took off into the unknown with the man they recognized as the promised Messiah.

They turned their backs on their entire lives and followed Jesus. Wow to this. What’s our problem then? We can’t even be bothered to read our Bibles, go to church more than twice a month, or be bothered to speak to another living soul about the man we supposedly know to be the promised Messiah!

Follow Me!

Matthew 4:17-22

From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

Update: As I said in yesterday’s post, I am going to recommence this series. While I get caught up pre-scheduling posts, I am going to re-run the original ones since it’s been a bit since I have added any. Build some momentum. Build me a buffer, actually. So, enjoy and thanks for reading. (Again, perhaps.)

For the next bit, time unknown, we are going to poke around a little bit in some Biblical characters who were at different times called to follow the Lord in some assignment. I don’t know who yet, really, but there are tons of course; and, they all reacted differently to the call of God in their lives.

Every word in God’s Word has a lesson for us today. If it did not, I don’t think God would have inspired the writers to include these narratives. So, as we move along through this, we will just take a look, see how different folks reacted, and see what present day lessons we can come up with for us in our own lives.

I have absolutely zero concrete plan for this, so we may bounce back and forth a bit from place to place as the Spirit moves.

I hope you will stick around and see where it all goes!

Follow Me-Straightaway They Followed

Matthew 4:17-22 

From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

Here we see Jesus walking the shores of the Sea of Galilee forming His church from among those he chose. In this story, He chose and called Peter, Andrew, John and James, who were all commercial fishermen in the Sea of Galilee.

Even though this was probably not the first encounter these men had had with Jesus, their response was nonetheless astounding. It’s likely that they had all heard the previous preaching of John the Baptist. It seems Andrew at least had followed John the Baptist for a while. Whatever the full background, at the time of their calling, the four men were simply busy earning their living as fishermen.

Here is where I want to depart a bit from what I usually hear as the narrative concerning these four men. Almost without fail, I see them characterized as “ignorant, unlearned fishermen.” Wellllllllllll….maybe, maybe not. I don’t find anything to indicate that any of them were part of the intellectual elite of the time, but a reading of Scripture tells us that there was more to them than just the label of, “ignorant, unlearned fishermen.”

Fishing could be a lucrative business on the Sea of Galilee, and at least in the case of John and James, the sons of Zebedee, there is plenty of reason to suspect this is so. In the Synagogue at Capernaum, there is a bench or a furnishing if you will, apparently purchased by a man identified as a Zebedee. The family had purchased a pew in the church. Clearly, service in the Synagogue was a part of their lives. We see in Mark’s account of the calling of John that the family business had employees. (Mark 1:20) John seemingly had a home in Jerusalem, because after the Crucifixion he took Mary, the mother of Jesus, there. (John 19:27) John seemed to have known the High Priest because this enabled Peter to be in the courtyard of his home as Jesus was under arrest. (John 18:16) John, at least was from a family of some means.

How does this change the common narrative here? Well poor, ignorant and unlearned young men are ripe for the picking to join up with any radical movement that seems to offer them a way out; affluent young men from successful families…not so much.

Yet, in our story, we see that they DID give it all up. John, James, Peter and Andrew all dropped their nets, abandoned their family business, and took off into the unknown with the man they recognized as the promised Messiah.

They turned their backs on their entire lives and followed Jesus. Wow to this. What’s our problem then? We can’t even be bothered to read our Bibles, go to church more than twice a month, or be bothered to speak to another living soul about the man we supposedly know to be the promised Messiah!

Follow Me!

Matthew 4:17-22

From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

For the next bit, time unknown, we are going to poke around a little bit in some Biblical characters who were at different times called to follow the Lord in some assignment. I don’t know who yet, really, but there are tons of course; and, they all reacted differently to the call of God in their lives. Since I am still re running an old series on Mon, Wed and Fridays, the plan here is to run this new material on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Every word in God’s Word has a lesson for us today. If it did not, I don’t think God would have inspired the writers to include these narratives. So, as we move along through this, we will just take a look, see how different folks reacted, and see what present day lessons we can come up with for us in our own lives.

I have absolutely zero concrete plan for this, so we may bounce back and forth a bit from place to place as the Spirit moves.

I hope you will stick around and see where it all goes!

Two Blind Men Followed Jesus

matthew 20_34.JPG

Matthew 20:29-34

How many of us have seen friends or family walk to the front of church, make a profession of faith, get baptized, then just vanish as if they had been kidnapped? I think we have all seen that happen. It is an epidemic in our churches, as folks get their “salvation ticket” punched and think they have just met the requirements of the Christian life. It may or may not be true that such a person has “punched the salvation ticket,” so to speak; that is not our judgment to make. Even a true profession of faith does not mark the end of our Christian journey, but only the beginning. Our Lord expects us to grow and mature as we age in our walks of faith.

Note the end of our passage; “they followed Him.” Jesus did open the eyes of these blind men; in fact, only Jesus CAN open our spiritual eyes. We do nothing to make that happen.  If we call out to the Lord, we will be saved. What happens after that opening, however, requires diligence and effort on our parts.

Do we receive our spiritual sight, and head on home to do as we have always done? Or, do we follow Him? I implore you friend, please don’t just come to the altar, make a profession, and hit the house. Stay around a bit; study God’s Word, serve in His house, fellowship with your new brothers and sisters and become a fully grown, mature believer.

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