Welcome to Monday’s podcast. My name is Tom Finnemore – part of the team here at STC. This week we continue in our journey through the Gospel of Matthew. Today we pick up where Mick left us on Friday.
Our reading today is Matthew 4: 18-25. Today we’ll read verse 19:
‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’ At once they left their nets and followed him.
Have you ever had unexpected interruptions? In today’s passages, we see one of the most significant unexpected interruptions: Jesus’ calling of the first disciples.
Here’s Peter & Andrew. They’re doing their job – fishing. An ordinary everyday moment for them. Then the interruption – Jesus approaches them – come follow me.
Twenty years ago I did my A Levels. I didn’t get the grades I wanted – my plan was to go to Leeds University. I just missed out. My plans changed. They were interrupted. God had other ideas.
In my final year of University I applied for a job in London. Thought it was a strong possibility. I didn’t get the job. My plans changed. They were interrupted. Moved to a city called Sheffield. The rest, as they say, is history. That wouldn’t have happened without plans being interrupted.
There is so much to say about these few verses. Let’s focus on this: The Bible says God has a plan for our lives. Jesus’ plan was to use him in the most powerful way – to build the church. Jesus’ interruption leads to an incredible adventure.
Jesus sees something in Peter. Rabbis or religious teachers of that time never chose their followers. Just didn’t happen but He chooses them. Two fishermen from Galilee. Two ordinary men. Just think what Jesus does with them: Think of Peter’s incredible leadership: for example his spine tingling sermon in Acts 2 – right in the heart of Jerusalem, the political & religious centre of Palestine. Or for example, think of him in Acts 4 when he’s hauled in front of the Sanhedrin – a counsel of learned scholars (like lawyers) – he’s defending himself in front of the brightest and the best minds of day. The Bible says he speaks with such passion and authority that they realised they were ‘unschooled, ordinary men and they were astonished…’
But of course in verse 19 he says ‘Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men…’ – it’s an interruption: a call out of the blue.
Did they know the details? Did they know where Jesus was going? Did they know about their pension plan or schooling for the kids?
No. They trusted. They left everything.
When I read Jesus’ words “I will make you fishers of men” I’m reminded of two things. That song we sang in the 80’s ‘I will make you fishers of men’ and a friend of mine. He knew he was called by God to lead a church. In many ways it was an interruption: a call to leave a lucrative job and train to be a vicar. He was (still is!) an incredible entrepreneur. Travelled the globe with his company – to parts of the world he loved. Speaks loads of languages. When he felt God call him to give it up – people told him it was a ‘waste’. To make it worse, the day he resigned his boss kept adding zeros to his salary in a bid to keep him.
God had interrupted his life. And he said yes. The Lord took his skills – like he did with Peter and Andrew (fishermen) – my friend’s was business and he used it (as he does) for his kingdom. 12 years later God is using all of his skills, his passion to further the kingdom, in incredible ways in another part of the world which he really loves.
Has God interrupted you recently? Have you followed him into a new season? Have you left behind your job or sense that interruption – do you sense Jesus calling you to something new?
Remember today, we don’t know the future, but if he’s calling you he has a purpose and a plan and he is always faithful in the adventure.
I pray for all those who are stepping out into a new season or term. May they know your complete and utter faithfulness.
READING: Matthew 4: 18-25
As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’ At once they left their nets and followed him.
Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and illness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralysed; and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.