At Crossroads this Sunday (July 15) we're beginning a short series of messages based on the days Jesus spent, in scripture, at the Sea of Galilee.* There Jesus called his first disciples, calmed the storm and revealed himself after he rose from the dead.
Wouldn't it be great to spend a day at the lake with Jesus? What would happen? How would that day transform you?
When Jesus first meets his future disciples there he invites them and challenges them. "Come," he says. This reminds me of when Jesus says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens. I will give you rest." Then he says "Follow me."
Invitation is always followed by challenge. Jesus doesn't invite us to hang out at the lake for relaxation alone. When we spend time with Him we will be challenged. At the lake Jesus said "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men." In another location he said "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me." A yoke is a mechanism for doing work. Jesus wants us to get so connected with him that his peace is our peace, and his work is ours too.
The cool thing is that the work we are challenged to do by Jesus never takes away our rest.
When Jesus says "I will make you fishers of men" he does does not "make us" in the sense of pushing us or forcing us to do anything. And when Jesus says "take my yoke upon you" he says he will teach us (learn from me) and that he will be with us every step of the way. The "yoke," the task we do, it still belongs to Jesus and is still inhabited by him. It is his yoke, his task, his job. We're just there to follow his lead.
Those words "I will make you fishers of men" can be misunderstood to mean I will "make you" as in "I will force you to go out and fish for people." A better word for "make" in English (for the original Greek ποιήσω) would perhaps be "I will re-make you" or "I will re-create" you, making or creating you to have a new identity, a new self, a new "you."
This new you created by Jesus in your flesh will now be interested in saving people, "fishing them" out of chaos and destruction. We get a new heart and a new mind.
We WANT to do this. It is no burden. "I will do the work of remaking you," says Jesus. When we come to Jesus, he now does work in us to change us.
Have you been remade? Where do you find your joy? Is it in fishing for men and women and all who are lost? If not, come to Jesus today to receive a new identity today.
* The Sea of Galilee is a large freshwater lake, about 1/3 the size of Mille Lacs.