Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 1 Study # 6
Thesis: Following Jesus is rooted in promise and is carried out by a "return", a "forsaking", and an actual "copying" of the actions of Jesus.
Introduction: We are living in the last days of the Age of the Church. Because of this we are immersed in a level of deception such as has not existed since the last days of the Age of Israel. The number and deceptiveness of the delusions is very great. We have vast numbers of people who are claiming to be following Jesus but who have almost no discernment as to what that means. Recently two very high profile "evangelical leaders" have been revealed to be extremely deluded frauds. And they are simply the latest in a long line of deceivers who have practiced the "visible faith" with sufficient expertise as to draw thousands upon thousands to attend to their "teaching". These realities make our consideration of Luke's record this morning a problematical endeavor.
The question before us is this: what does "following Jesus" really mean? Our text tells us that Peter, James, and John "brought their boats to land, forsook all, and followed Jesus". But, what does that look like today? When Jesus was physically upon the earth, it was pretty easy to see if a person was "following", at least in a physical way. But, Jesus is no longer upon the earth in a material body and it is no longer easy to see who is following and who is not. In those days, eleven out of the twelve were really following; in our day we will be "lucky" to find one in twelve who profess to be who really are. So, with the level of delusion ramped up to the max, we are going to approach the text to see what it actually says.
February 25, 2007
- I. The Large-Ticket Preliminaries.
- A. No one "follows" Jesus who does not begin with the "I am a sinful man" reality.
- 1. Jesus did not promise Peter anything until he was brought to His knees.
- 2. Luke maintains this thesis in Luke 18:13.
- B. No one "follows" Jesus who does not subscribe to Jesus as "Lord".
- 1. It is one thing to be "overwhelmed with one's sins".
- 2. It is quite another thing to see Jesus as a Gracious Kinsman Redeemer.
- II. The More Specific Issues.
- A. The foundations are established by Promise in the face of Fear.
- 1. Jesus' "Stop being moved by the sin-driven fear of God's Justice" addresses the fear.
- 2. Jesus' "From now on you will catch men" addresses the nature of the New Life.
- a. This is not a commandment.
- b. This is a promise.
- 3. But, here is where one of the greatest delusions is inserted into the milieu: having a large following does not signal the "faithfulness of God".
- B. There are two prerequisites beyond the Large-Ticket Preliminaries.
- 1. One is caught in the first aorist participle of verse eleven.
- a. Any time some "detail" of a text seems to be "unnecessary", be very alert.
- 1) Why does anyone need to know that the disciples "brought their boats to land"?
- 2) There is a lot "floating" on that little declaration (pardon the pun).
- b. In the first place, we already know that Luke has deliberately identified the "land" in this record as "Gennesaret".
- 1) We know that "Gennesaret" was widely known with a powerful reputation to be the epitomy of the promise of God to Israel that He would give them a land flowing with milk and honey.
- 2) We know that the "Lake of Gennesaret" is a title that is deliberately chosen by Luke because of the tension it creates between the Justice of God and the Promise of God.
- 3) We also know that the word Luke chose to use to describe the disciples' action in getting to "Gennesaret" is used ten times in the New Testament and nine of those times it is used by Luke -- pointing to a point that Luke wanted to make.
- a. This word is always used in contexts where a "destination" is in view.
- b. This word is always used in contexts where a "determination" is in view.
- 4) We know that there was a good "apparent" reason for the disciples' determination to get to their destination: the boats were beginning to sink (5:7).
- a. This represented the potential loss of life as well as the enormous bounty of fish. [Anyone wonder why they didn't just let the fish go that they could not put in the boats without sinking them???? -- greed is a power thing.]
- 1) The "loss of life" issue looms large here.
- 2) The "loss of bounty" issue also looms large.
- b. But, how did this determination fit into Luke's scenario as he finalizes the picture with those "determined disciples" walking away from the boats and fish?
- c. In the second place, the destination is "upon the land".
- 1) An insignificant way to give a destination is the simple "anartharous locative".
- 2) That Lukes' words actually paint a picture of the disciples driving their boats to Gennesaret with enough force to "beach them" indicates something more.
- d. In the third place, Gennesaret as the epitomy of "the land" inserts an enormous theological focus that God spent 1500 years developing with a special "land" covenant and a torturously detailed history of people rejecting the God of that focus.
- 1) This theological focus includes the reality that, under that covenant, the only place of blessing is "upon the land".
- a) As soon as the first recipient of the land promise left the land, his life fell apart.
- b) As soon as the last recipients of the land promise regather to the land, their lives will finally come together.
- 2) This means that, in our story, genuine repentance will produce an intense determina- tion to get "upon the land".
- e. Thus, one of the issues in Luke's narrative is that no one will live the fearless life of the fruitful disciple who does not "come to ground" (another pun) in terms of the covenant under which he lives.
- 2. The second is caught in the second aorist participle of verse eleven.
- a. The participle describes the disciples as "abandoning every thing".
- b. The implications here are huge.
- 1) The enormous bounty from an illegitimate place is abandoned.
- a) The "place" had been determined by a fundamentally flawed orientation: the "Lake" instead of Gennesaret.
- b) The "bounty" was designed to bring repentance, not a life of ease. [Self-indulgence is the worst possible seed-bed for discipleship].
- c) The deluded never get this right.
- 2) The lifestyle from an illegitimate orientation is abandoned.
- c. The problems today are also huge.
- 1) The abandonment issues are no longer very visible for the most part. [Illustration from my own "commitment" in regard to GMI]
- 2) The life of ease issue is so much an embraced notion that people cannot even get to first base with the idea that maybe God does not want us to indulge ourselves.
- III. The Final Issue: Following.
- A. In those days the issue of "following" was two-fold.
- 1. One of those issues was literally going where He went and doing what He told them to do.
- 2. The second of those issues was the internal "going" that had to do with the "whys" and "wherefores" of His goings and doings.
- B. In these days it is no longer the same.
- 1. There is no physical Jesus Who goes and we follow.
- 2. The spiritual, unseen, issue remains unseen until the explosion.