Monday, November 17, 2008

Jesus's Commands - Matthew 4:18-22

I have a real problem with preachers/teachers allegorizing everything. In my mind not everything in scripture has a spiritual application. So in writing about this passage I feel like I am on the border of "over spiritualizing" the command found here. What keeps me writing about this command is the knowledge that Jesus restates it in different ways and to different people including all of Christendom. So even though this particular command is spoken to Peter and Andrew, and possibly James and John, I am including it in my study of Jesus's commands to us.

Just a side note. This command and the previous command are also found in Mark 1:14-20 in the same context.

"Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."

This is actually a command with a promise. The command "follow me" and the promise "I will make you fishers of men." I have to ask myself, "Where's the appeal?" I know that may sound a little sacrilegious but I am constantly trying to look at Scripture the way a non-Christian might. I mean basically what Jesus was saying is "Give up your livelihood, possibly your family, respect of your peers and follow me. When you do this I will give you another task. You will show others how to do what you are doing." Am I reading too much into this? I really don't think so.

So where was the appeal? I think the reason why it may not hold such appeal today is the fact that we live in a tolerant society. How do the two connect? Easily. There was a time when people who believed in something strongly wanted to share it with others hoping that they would come to believe it as well, but in today's culture such a notion isn't very popular. In fact it is seen as being very narrow minded. The call is for everyone to accept everyone no matter how they practice or what they believe, which I wouldn't say I disagree with, but it goes further in demanding that none of us try to force our "beliefs" on anyone else. Forget that such beliefs could be the truth. Truth is relative. It is only true if one accepts it as true.

So the call to become "fishers of men" goes against the grain of society including those who call themselves Christian. There is no appeal to reveal truth to people. In essence this is the very call of Jesus. "Follow me and you will become people who draw others to me through revelation of the truth."

Our whole purpose for being here is to be like Jesus. What was Jesus' mission? It has been worded many different ways so allow me to word it this way. His mission was to bring truth (some call it light) to the world. If we want to be like Jesus then we must have a desire to bring the truth to those around us.

Where's the appeal? The appeal is knowing that there is a world outside of us that is lost and dieing. The appeal is knowing there is truth even though it is emphatically denied. The appeal is knowing that this truth is the key to freedom. Why should we desire to be fishers of men? Because if we don't those who are in the world will remain lost living purposeless and pointless lives.

Jesus said "Come and follow me" to his first disciples. The call didn't stop with them. It continues today through a differently worded command. "Go and make disciples of all nations..." If we are to obey Jesus then we must follow him in order to go and make disciples.

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