A Mission to Fulfill
Text: Matthew 4:18-25
As Jesus stepped into His public ministry, He knew that He had a great mission to fulfill. The words that He had read in the local synagogue in Nazareth were firmly fixed in His mind. The words of the prophet Isaiah were indelibly etched into His heart and mind.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel…”
The work had begun in earnest right from the start. He began calling people to repentance. He preached that the Kingdom of heaven was close at hand. The mission that the Father had given to Him became a powerful driving force in His life.
A GREAT DIVINE VISION
Jesus had a great vision of the work that lay before Him. The words of the prophet Isaiah included a description of the people that must be reached.
“To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed…”
There was a huge mountain of work to be done. There were many who were poor, brokenhearted, captives, blind (physically and spiritually) and of course the oppressed. Jesus had a great vision of many people turning to God in repentance and in faith! It was because Jesus believed in this divine vision that He began calling people to become His disciples.
SHARING THE VISION WITH OTHERS
A great vision is one that is worth sharing. A great divine vision must of necessity draw many others! Jesus saw in His mind’s eye thousands of people flocking to Him. He was concerned for every individual who came to Him. Each person would need a personal word of encouragement besides instruction.
Jesus knew that He had but a very short time on earth to attempt and accomplish all that the Father had given to Him. Wisdom taught Him that He must focus on training Disciples. The glorious divine vision He had of the work of the Kingdom must be shared with others. Thus a double-pronged ministry began almost simultaneously. The crowds must be reached. Disciples must also be made and the divine vision shared with them.
THE CONCEPT OF DISCIPLESHIP
Jesus minced no words when He spoke to the fishermen about becoming His disciples. Would they be prepared to follow Him? That was a tall order! The practice of having disciples to follow a master was not an uncommon thing. John the Baptiser had his own set of disciples (John 3:25). The Jews claimed that they were “Moses’ disciples” (John 9:28). Luke also mentioned that both John and the Pharisees had disciples (Luke 5:33).
THE PRACTICE OF DISCIPLESHIP
1. The Master would function as Teacher
a) He would impart to His students His knowledge of God.
b) This set of teachings would become distinctively His.
c) He would impart to the disciples a code of behaviour as well.
d) He would be their mentor, guiding, correcting, teaching etc.
e) His ultimate goal is to have the disciples carry on where He would leave off.
2. The Disciples
a) They would have to attend to the teachings of the Master.
b) They would look after His physical needs.
c) They would seek to practise all that they are taught.
d) They would form a distinct group of people, some of whom would become outstanding leaders.
e) Sacrifices often have to be made.
The Call that Jesus made was a very bold one. Whereas other teachers merely imparted their theology or philosophy, Jesus offered something much more striking when He said, “Follow Me”.
Yes, He would impart to His Disciples profound teachings. But He offered much more! He offered His lifestyle as something worth emulating. Who would dare to call disciples with these words, “Follow Me”?
1. Your lifestyle has to be impeccable.
2. Your lifestyle would be under constant scrutiny.
3. Your lifestyle has to make tremendous impact!
“I WILL MAKE YOU FISHERS OF MEN”
Another tall order! Yet, Jesus never flinched from stating what seemed to be very bold statements! Can a person really learn how to become “a fisher of men”? What lessons would He impart that would enable disciples to become effective fishers of men?
Jesus painted for His would-be disciples the work that He would share with them. They would become fishers of men, just as He was. With faith, diligence and perseverance, they would learn the ropes. One day, they too would have a great sense of mission and vision. But first they must become apt and willing Disciples!