- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 11, 2007

Here are excerpts from a sermon given recently by Mike Tune, minister at the Church of Christ in Falls Church.

What does it look like when God comes? There are things in the Old Testament called theophanies, which are appearances of God.

In Revelation 1, it says, “Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him. … The hairs of His head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire … and His voice was like the roar of many waters. … When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though dead.”

What an entrance that is. This is God, who has come into our presence.

All of the Gospel writers talk about God’s coming. And when you put them all together, it sounds something like this: “The prophets promised that God would come,” followed by angels who announce that God is going to come, and then followed by angels who say,” God has come.” And finally God Himself, who says, “This is My Son.”

I imagine God coming as one of those great events with angels announcing His coming. But the next thing I know, God is walking around the countryside by the Sea of Galilee, talking to a bunch of fishermen. It’s not the majesty that we expect. It’s just Galilee.

Or maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s just Galilee to me. Mark has not left out the majesty of the Lord. It’s there.

Put yourself in the place of Mark writing the story. He presents Jesus preaching the sort of message you would preach to Christians. “God has come, and He is ruling. Keep trusting Him.” Discipleship is what the book is about.

Jesus shows up wandering around the Sea of Galilee, preaching and calling people. The Sea of Galilee is 7 miles wide and 13 miles long. In Jesus’ day, there were 16 major trading cities where fishermen went out to fish each day. They went out in big boats that held 12 men and huge nets. They went out to fish for the trade, not just to feed their families. They were going to ship their prized fish to Egypt, Syria and Greece. This lake was packed with hundreds of boats. Fishing was big business.

So when Jesus comes walking along the lake, we need to forget the idea that Jesus was traipsing through the countryside preaching to whoever would listen to Him. Jesus is in a major metropolitan area. The people in Galilee were making money. So when Jesus walks by and calls Peter, James and John, He wasn’t calling mere day fishers. He was calling people who were engaged in major business. Jesus said,”Hey, come follow me.” And they did.

Don’t you find that amazing? I would have said, “Hang on, I’ll be with you shortly.” Not Peter and James. They dropped their nets and followed Jesus. What would make anyone do that?

This is where the “majesty” part comes into play. When He calls them to follow Him, Jesus calls them not just to wander behind Him, but to be involved in a mission. He tells them, “I will make you fishers of men.”

I know what happens when I go fishing for fish. They die, and I eat them. When you fish for fish, you pull them from the water into certain death. When you fish for men you pull them from the water to certain life. See the difference?

Jesus said: “I will make you fishers of men. You will engage in the work of God to rescue man and bring him into life.” In Jesus, God has called His people into allegiance to Him and Him alone. In Jesus, God appeared and called us to follow His life pattern.

Jesus knew that when He called these guys, they would fail. Jesus knew they would fail while moving in the right direction, and that is important for me and you. Following Jesus doesn’t mean sitting idly. It means moving and making adjustments. In that way we find ourselves changed. There was no prerequisite to following Jesus, except to go follow Him. They didn’t have to be great theologians or have their life right. The same is true for us.

Are you aware that in ancient literature there is not one story of the gods ever calling the people to follow the gods? It’s only in the New Testament Gospel, where God Almighty came to Earth and said to humankind, “Come follow Me.” That’s what God wants from you. This is the majesty of the moment, that Jesus could walk by the lake and say to businessmen, “Come follow Me,” and they did.



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