Jesus said "Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men." Mark 1:17.
Simon and Andrew were just minding their own business, hauling in their nets, when Jesus rocked up and said, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men”. Simon and Andrew, and later other disciples had absolutely no clue at this point who Jesus was, what he was actually offering them, or what the ‘way’ that Jesus was to show them entailed. But Jesus made them a promise, that he would if they followed him transform them and their futures.
This promise to ‘make you become’ is a promise made not only to Simon and Andrew but to all disciples including ourselves. If you make the decision to follow Jesus, he promises that he will transform you, as you travel his ‘way’.
Of course, becoming and following his ‘way’ is not easy. As the disciples were to discover, the ‘way’ of Jesus is a path that is not easily walked and can lead you to places that you had not planned on.
There are many paths a person can take during their lifetime, and some journeys have many paths that might be taken. Like the parents of Andrew and Simon, who relied on them to continue the family business, as children our parents may try to guide us to which path we should take, some may leave us to our own devices and others may send us down paths we should perhaps have avoided. Regardless of how many different paths you or I may have tried over the years, I can guarantee that the path that Jesus points us down is always the right one, even if sometimes it’s harder to see the destination.
Listening to Jesus’ call on our lives, accepting his directions and trusting that he knows best is probably one of the hardest things as Christians we do, and yet it is a part of our life and the way. Once we have made that decision to follow the way of Jesus and that is regardless of how many other paths you may have tried before, Jesus begins to make us become… It’s hard to describe or pin-point what this becoming looks like because of course it is different for everyone. But, it begins with a rebirth, a glorious realisation that your sins have been forgiven and your slate wiped clean.
We can look to the bible, to see how Jesus transforms us, and in particular my thoughts turn to the beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-12. He takes his disciples up a mountain away from the crowds and sits them down to teach them, to show them what the kingdom of heaven is really about, and what life looks like when you are committed to that kingdom. Below are the Beatitudes with a brief and basic ‘explanation’ underneath in italics.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Those who are humble before God, will inherit the kingdom of heaven
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted
Whilst there will be times of difficulty and crisis, heartache and anxiety those who believe will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth
Those who are not arrogant, who show respect to others will inherit the earth (probably meaning the heavenly kingdom)
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied
Those who live as God wants them to, hungering and thirsting for what is right in Gods eyes. That hunger and thirst will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy
A general attitude of mercy and forgiveness will ensure that you to receive mercy and forgiveness.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God
For those who come to worship with a pure and truthful heart will seek and see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God
God is the great peacemaker, and for those who seek peace God will acknowledge them as his children.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
For those of us who follow Gods way there will be persecution, but we will see the kingdom of heaven.
Those of you with a keen eye will have noticed that I’ve left off the last beatitude, this is for two reasons, firstly it is repetitious of the one before, and secondly it is more relevant to what follows it, than the beatitudes and so I have left it.
Understanding each and every element of the beatitudes is an entire sermon worth, possibly more, so I won’t say any more about them here. But needless to say, that Jesus gave plenty of teaching and advice on becoming, and reading the beatitudes is a great place to start. Jesus also taught about prayer, and controlling our anger and our lust, he taught about loving your enemies and retaliation, he spoke about giving to and helping those in need. All of these things, among many others are a part of the journey that we take with Christ and help us to become.
Gill and I (in the photo) have just handed in our end of year reports. In which many of these things we have had to think about and reflect upon. It doesn’t matter how long you have been on the ‘way’, you are still becoming.
Heavenly Father, I pray for us all as we travel the ‘way’ with you. Guide us, help us to pray, help us to listen and help us to be more Christ like every day. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen