- 2015Mar 02
“Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.’ So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him” (Luke 5:10-11).
“Fear not and follow me.”
These five words sum up the call of Christ to each of us. We must set aside our worry about the future and our fear of what others may think of us. Until we do, we can never truly follow Jesus.
For Peter and the other disciples, following Christ meant leaving behind the old life (including the incredible catch of fish), giving up their boats, their nets, and their livelihood, and following Christ into an unknown future. Dietrich Bonhoeffer described it this way: “They must burn their boats and plunge into absolute insecurity in order to learn the demand and the gift of Christ.”
Letting go must always come first. Anything that hinders our walk with Christ must go. Even some good things must go in order that better things may come from the Lord. We can’t have it both ways.
The word for “followed” means “to walk the same road.” That’s what a disciple does—he walks the same road as Jesus. He gets on the “Jesus road” and follows it wherever it may lead. No guarantees, no deals, no special promises. He simply walks that road every day, following in his Master’s steps.
Don’t be afraid to follow Jesus. You’ll never regret starting down the “Jesus road.” You will only regret that you waited so long to do it.
Are you ready to follow Jesus wherever he leads? That’s where it all begins. The rest is just details.
Lord Jesus, let faith rise to replace our fear. May we gladly leave all to follow you and not hold back, not even a little bit. Amen.
- 2015Mar 01
“I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you” (John 1:48).
Jesus saw Nathanael before Nathanael saw him.
That statement reveals a huge spiritual truth:
Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation doesn’t start with us. It always starts with God. It is a work of God from first to last. We need this truth because it’s easy to fall into a man-centered way of thinking. We often speak of “finding” the Lord, and that is true. But it is equally true that if Jesus did not find us first, we would never find him on our own.
Jesus was moving to call Nathanael before Nathanael knew who he was.
This ought to give us great confidence in our prayers and in our evangelism. We have a part to play because God has ordained both the means and the ends of his work on the earth. We pray for the lost precisely because we fully expect God to work in the hearts of the lost long before they come to faith in Christ. We can’t say in advance exactly how God will work or when or where. We don’t need to know that part. It is enough to know that salvation is a gift of God, and that every part of salvation is “not of ourselves” (see Ephesians 2:8-9).
Think of it this way:
Philip still had to say to Nathanael, “Come and see” (v. 46).
Nathanael still had to come.
When Nathanael came to Jesus, he discovered Jesus had been watching him all along. Let this thought encourage you as you think about friends who are far from the Lord. Jesus sees them too. He knows where they are. He prepares them to respond so that when they are invited, at just the right moment, they will come to Christ.
We all have friends who are “under the fig tree” right now. If they seem unreachable, remember Nathanael and do not lose heart. Jesus sees the lost, he knows where they are, and he calls them by the Holy Spirit.
Keep believing, and keep on praying. You never know what God will do.
Give us faith, O Lord, to believe your Word, and to keep on praying for our friends who do not know you. Amen.
- 2015Feb 28
“‘Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?’ Nathanael asked” (John 1:46).
This was not a compliment.
Nothing much came from Nazareth, an obscure village tucked away in the hills of Galilee. Every country and state and province has a place like Nazareth, a place so remote that nothing ever happens there, no one of importance comes from there. That’s why Nathanael said, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” It seemed highly unlikely that the Messiah would come from a place like that. If you were looking for the one the prophets talked about, you would expect him to come from Jerusalem.
For every Jerusalem, there are a hundred places like Nazareth. The world is filled with unlikely places where nothing much ever seems to happen, where there is no great university, little towns without much commerce, places off the beaten path, tiny villages and hamlets where few people live.
Nathanael represents the “big city” attitude that prevails today. He speaks for the people of New York, Rome, London, and Singapore. How could anything good come from Nazareth?
Our God is not a front runner. He doesn’t design his coming around the prejudices of city-dwellers. Not that he has anything against big cities. He loves the great, teeming, bustling, busy cities of the world. But Jesus was not ashamed to come from Nazareth.
Notice what Philip said, how he responded to Nathanael’s prejudice.
“Come and see” (John 1:46).
At every point along the way, God upends human prejudice and overthrows our preconceptions. He doesn’t play to our expectations. If you are willing to let go of your backward way of thinking, you too can be saved.
Can anything good come out Nazareth?
Come and see.
Open our eyes, Lord, to see you as you are, and not as the world sees you. Amen.