This sermon was originally preached at Mission Hills United Methodist Church in San Diego, California on January 26, 2020. To listen to the full recording, visit our podcast, “Mission Hills United Methodist Church” or search ‘Mission Hills United Methodist Church’ wherever you get your podcasts.
Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
“Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali,
on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
the people who sat in darkness
have seen a great light,
and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death
light has dawned.”
From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.
We’re showing my age here, but one of the shows I liked to watch as a kid was a show called Kim Possible. Recently, this show resurfaced in my mind as I got my Disney+ subscription. The premise of the show, is that there’s this girl Kim Possible, and she’s a normal girl, but also a sort of superhero. Each episode, we can see Kim go from her normal teenage life; school, shopping, hanging out with her friends, to suddenly going out and saving the world. Each time there’s a situation Kim needs to go help with, she will get a call on her cell phone, the old school flip phone one, and wherever she is, whatever she’s doing, she answers it.
Sometimes, I think God calls us the same way. Of course, not from a cell phone, (though honestly, it might be easier for us to recognize that way). But God can call us in moments of our everyday life, unexpected moments, and call us to making bold choices for the sake of that call.
If you were with us last week, we talked about calling as the why behind the action, the motivation for the ways we serve or work. Our call, well it calls us to help people, to challenge things that feel wrong, to show compassion, to be bold.
Our scripture this week is a story of bold call itself, of Jesus calling the fishing disciples. Jesus has just found out that John the Baptist was arrested, for making bold choices of his own. Jesus knew, that even though the government, the people in power, had stopped John, that his call still needed to be fulfilled. So he went to gather people to help.
Jesus ended up making it to the Sea of Galilee, where he found Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, who were out fishing, which was their job. But Jesus had other plans. He spoke to Simon Peter and Andrew, and said, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” You know the saying, ‘don’t quit your day job’? Jesus was saying the complete opposite.
Imagine one day, Jesus shows up at your place of work, your office, your home, whatever, and says to you, ‘Hey, drop what you’re doing. I’ve got a plan.’ Would you freely go? Would you ask questions, or make sure there’s a backup plan? Would you insist Jesus let you give a 30 day notice to your boss, as not to ruin your resume?
Andrew and Simon Peter, it is said, immediately dropped their nets to follow Jesus. Despite whatever worries or doubts or concerns they had, they followed him, following their call to make bold moves for the sake of fulfilling the gospel, the same gospel John had been following prior to his arrest.
What bold moves are you willing to make?
Where in your life have you dropped your nets to follow Jesus?
In my own life, I’m a very big planner. I love an organized checklist, a color-coded schedule, routines, and a five-year plan. So imagine my surprise when ¾ of the way through college, God decided to give me my own ‘drop your nets’ moment. I was working on my teaching degree, getting ready to submit my paperwork to student teach, and as I went home for the summer to work at my church on what I thought would be more teaching, Jesus had other plans, and in the middle of a sanctuary, called me to be a pastor.
As much as I’d like to say my response was like Simon Peter and Andrew’s, immediately dropping what I was doing to say yes, it was not. If their response to the call was like running toward Jesus, mine was more like a slow crawl through a pool full of molasses. There were lots of eyerolls, denial, sadness, and anger. Basically, the stages of grief, but in call form.
The good news for me, is that eventually, I made the choice to take that bold step, make the bold choice to follow Jesus’ plan for me. And the good news for us, is that even when it takes a while, even when it’s not immediate, God still calls us, and we still have the opportunity, even today, to say yes to the call we have for our life.
What bold moves are you willing to make?
Where might God be calling you, that you are ready to say yes to?
We follow the one who made bold choices for the sake of the gospel, bold choices fueled by his call. We follow a leader who encouraged his own disciples to make bold choices too, and they did. They dropped their nets and followed him, and we too are called to that same thing.
What nets need to be dropped in your life, to make room for you to make bold choices?
How is God calling you in this season, to be bold for the sake of the gospel?
We are called, all of us friends, to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God. We are called, to serve one another, to love tenderly, to follow, and to be bold, stepping out in our faith to follow Jesus, the boundary breaker, the reformer, the outcast, the bold.
Friends, as you leave today, may you remember that we are called by a divine God to step out of our comfort zones in faith. May we know that the same Jesus who calls us to love, calls us to boldness, which are one in the same. And may you know, that your call from God, is intimately and divinely connected to who you are, a beloved child of God.
Let us pray:
God of life and light, we give you thanks for journeying with us, calling us to big things in your name. We give you thanks for your guidance, your holy presence that accompanies us along the way, as we learn to follow our call, dropping our nets to follow Jesus. Help us God, to be bold, in those situations of our lives that require action, boldness, newness. Remind us of your love for us, a love that defies our fear, our doubt, and welcomes our questions. In your name we boldly pray, Amen.