10 February 2019: Crazy things Jesus Said… Crazy things his people did…

10 February 2019: Crazy things Jesus Said… Crazy things his people did…

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Crazy things Jesus Said… Crazy things his people did…

Over the next 3 weeks we are looking at some of the crazy things Jesus said and some of the crazy things that his followers did.

This is a bit awkward, because I think that generally speaking, we don’t like sounding or being through of as crazy people…

It is tricky for the church these days. There was a time not so long ago when the church was seen as a pillar of society, someone whose opinions mattered, pastors, theologians, etc, were people who were seen as learned, respected and reasonable people… I can tell you right now that these day, when people hear that you are part of a church, especially if they haven’t been for, they probably get images in their mind of someone yelling on a street corner wearing a sandwich board…

I think that sometimes we can get so used to the stories of what Jesus said and did that we can forget how truly nuts some of it seems to those who don’t follow Jesus…

While looking at the crazy things that Jesus said, and the crazy things that his followers did… Is asking the question…

How are our lives different because we follow Jesus?

God Calls us at Crazy Times…

So lets walk through this story we heard earlier…

Luke 5:1–3 GNB

1 One day Jesus was standing on the shore of Lake Gennesaret while the people pushed their way up to him to listen to the word of God.

2 He saw two boats pulled up on the beach; the fishermen had left them and were washing the nets.

3 Jesus got into one of the boats—it belonged to Simon—and asked him to push off a little from the shore. Jesus sat in the boat and taught the crowd.

So this story comes right at the start of Jesus ministry, he doesn’t really have a group of disciples following him yet, Jesus is basically just a lone traveling preacher.

For Simon Peter, James and John, this is all happening on a day like any other… They have just been fishing all night, doing what they probably did most days…

Luke 5:4–5 GNB

4 When he finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Push the boat out further to the deep water, and you and your partners let down your nets for a catch.”

5 “Master,” Simon answered, “we worked hard all night long and caught nothing. But if you say so, I will let down the nets.”

Not only did this traveling preacher want to use their boats after a long nights work, now he is offering “helpful advise” on how they should do their jobs. (Because everyone loves unsolicited advice from amateurs about how to do their job)

I love  how polite this interaction is… It might more about where I worked than anything, but when I worked as an engineer and we were building stuff, if a random corporate type turned up a the end of a workday, offered their advice to a tradie about how they should do their job better expected that they should try this out immediately, the exchange that followed wasn’t anywhere near this polite…

Jesus asks these fishermen to do a crazy thing, something they know won’t work… But they did it anyway…

Luke 5:6–8 GNB

6 They let them down and caught such a large number of fish that the nets were about to break.

7 So they motioned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. They came and filled both boats so full of fish that the boats were about to sink.

8 When Simon Peter saw what had happened, he fell on his knees before Jesus and said, “Go away from me, Lord! I am a sinful man!”

This crazy advice that Jesus had given, seemed to pan out, not just a little bit, but a lot. We can see from Simon Peter’s response that this wasn’t just a slightly bigger catch than was usual, but that it was miraculous, something that showed them something about who this Jesus guy is or at least helped them to know that he was something out of the ordinary…

Luke 5:9–11 GNB

9 He and the others with him were all amazed at the large number of fish they had caught.

10 The same was true of Simon’s partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee. Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.”

11 They pulled the boats up on the beach, left everything, and followed Jesus.

For Simon Peter, James and John, what started out as an ordinary work day lead to the most pivotal moment of their lives… They didn’t see it coming, weren’t prepared for it, probably weren’t even happy about it… Until that moment of realization when everything changed…

Leaving everything to follow this teacher… Crazy… Not even waiting around to sell this massive boat load of fish… Crazy… The timing couldn’t be worse and for James and John, we hear from the other Gospels that they were essentially abandoning the family business.

Crazy…

God Calls us to do Crazy things…

When we hear this story of Jesus calling his first disciples we need to remember a few things…

Firstly… We see in this story that God doesn’t simply wait until we are ready, listening and attentive on a Sunday to speak to us.

These disciples encountered Jesus on an ordinary day, at their ordinary job… They weren’t priests, scholars or the kinds of people who did religious stuff for a living, they were just ordinary folks doing ordinary jobs. It doesn’t even seem that they really understood what they were seeing, they didn’t really understand where following Jesus would lead, but they still had courage enough to respond in obedience to follow Jesus.

I think God calls us in the same way today.

If you had told me in 2007 that within 18 months I would be working part time in a church and studying for full time ministry, I would have laughed in your face. I enjoyed what I was doing, I was really good at what I was doing and I had an exciting future of possibilities opening up before me. To be frank, in choosing to pursue full time ministry, I disappointing a lot of people…

While not everyone may be gifted and called into full time ministry as their job, we are all gifted and called to follow Jesus, together continuing to embody his ministry in the world. We should expect that in the same way that God was present with these disciples in the midst of the every day, that God will be present, in, through and around us in the midst of our every day lives… At work, at home, at school… We need to remember that some of the most significant experiences of faith, for you or those whom you meet as you live and work, won’t happen here on a Sunday. They will happen in ways that we can’t anticipate until they land in our lap, taking us and others completely by surprise, in the midst of our every day routine…Some of the people who God calls and uses may even seem to be those who we considered to be the least likely, it might even be you…

Aside (Kid’s Message in 9:45)

I believe there are people here who God calling to serve, maybe to serve  as missionaries, as carers or as church leaders, as those who work for justice at home or overseas, as those who will embody faith and love in their home, their workplace or community in powerful ways.

If you are here and you are wondering about whether God may be prompting you, nudging you to a new kind of service and faith, we would love to talk with you about that, encourage you in that and work out what your next steps are…

Secondly… Living in obedience to God will look a bit crazy

In this story, Jesus asked these fishermen to do something which seemed straight up dumb. We hear Simon Peter’s objection, but the reality is that everyone in those boats and a bunch of people on the shore were probably asking themselves “What are these people doing”… To then see these men leave everything behind, there and then, to follow this traveling preacher… Crazy…

For us today, in the same way, I think that living as God would have us live, being a community that seeks to see ourselves and one anothers as God sees us, it can seem crazy, childish even… For us to be generous with the way we spend our money, our time, our skills, seeking the welfare of others above ourselves, especially towards those our society seems as undeserving, lazy or dangerous, can seem crazy, irresponsible… For us to live as people who have hope in the midst of sickness, grief and loss, can seem crazy. For us to be a community of people who are prepared to walk away from opportunities in our career, business or relationships because we realize they aren’t compatible with following Jesus… That can seem a bit crazy… For us to be a community that lives out forgiveness and grace, that lives and acts as though we are forgiven, made whole and sustained by the grace of Jesus, rather than through what we have earned or achieved… That can seem a bit crazy…

Thirdly, fruitfulness, fishers of people…

Jesus didn’t simply call these disciples to follow him so that he wouldn’t be lonely on the road… He didn’t just call them so that they could be those who guard and preserve some secret knowledge that is only available to those who have earned it… There is an expectation that a movement is starting with these disciples, a movement that is continued today through and in those who follow Jesus will be seeking to bring others in.

These disciples wont be fishing like they were before, catching fish that will ultimately die for their own benefit, but rather they are catching people, who are otherwise prisoners, so that those people they may find freedom and life. This journey of following Jesus isn’t just something that benefits the disciples but something that invites others find life with Jesus as well.

We too are called to be those who would help others to find freedom and life, forgiveness and grace in Jesus. We aren’t the church simply for what we can get out of it, we don’t see other people simply in terms of what we can get from them, but rather we exist so that they too may find the hope and life we have in Jesus. We too are called to be those who embody the Kingdom of God as we together continue the ministry of Jesus and help those in our world around us to know that they too are invited into God’s family.

We need to remember that Jesus seemed crazy…

But we need to remember that Jesus seemed crazy… From the beginning of the story in the Bible from Genesis we see a conflict between God’s vision for what is the best way to live and that of humanity… We also see that our tenancy is to choose that which leads to death and brokenness rather than being obedient to God and finding life and wholeness.

1 Corinthians 1:23–25 GNB

23 As for us, we proclaim the crucified Christ, a message that is offensive to the Jews and nonsense to the Gentiles;

24 but for those whom God has called, both Jews and Gentiles, this message is Christ, who is the power of God and the wisdom of God.

25 For what seems to be God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and what seems to be God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

How are our lives different because we follow Jesus? Are they crazy enough..?

Speaker: Rev. Stephen Rothery

I am married to Shannan and we love life in the Redlands.

 

I love tinkering with technology, have spent waaaay too much time in on-line gaming and am an early adopter of virtual reality. (Currently rocking a HTC Vive at home and GearVR for mobile) Before coming into ministry my background was in Electrical Engineering/IT which meant I spent a lot of time working with information systems and automation in factories and industry around Queensland. All of this means that I am basically a huge nerd 🙂

 

In terms of faith, I am passionate about journeying with people as they seek to follow Jesus and understand what this looks like in their family/work/community. None of us are perfect, but through God\’s grace we can make a difference as together we seek to bring hope in places of despair, love to those who feel lost or ashamed and comfort to those who are hurting.