January 23, 2023

MESSAGE – Third Sunday after Epiphany – A – 22 January 2023

MESSAGE – Third Sunday after Epiphany – A – 22 January 2023

Following Jesus

Children’s Sermon: Fishing for People (Matthew 4:18-23)
Do you enjoy fishing? Have you ever caught a fish?
Fishing is a great sport, and if you have ever been fishing and have caught a fish, you know that there’s a great feeling of excitement when you catch a fish. One of the things that makes fishing such a great sport is that it doesn’t matter if you’re young or old…you can still be good at fishing.
What does it take to be good at catching fish? First of all, you need to be properly equipped. You can’t just get a piece of string, put a hook on it, and tie it on the end of a stick and expect to catch many fish, can you? No! If you’re serious about fishing, you’ll make sure you have all the right equipment. You’ll want a nice rod and reel like this one I have this morning.
The next thing you need to know is that you have to go where the fish are to catch fish!
Finally, if you want to be good at fishing, you must be patient. Sometimes the fish just aren’t biting. You have to wait patiently.
Our Bible story today has something to do with fishing. One day, Jesus was walking along the seashore when he saw two brothers named Peter and Andrew. Jesus knew they made their living by fishing, so He called out to them, “Follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” Do you know what they did? They laid down their fishing nets and followed Jesus.
Jesus wants you and me to fish for people, too. That means that Jesus wants us to tell others about what He has done for us and what He wants to do for them. Fishing for people is a lot like fishing for fish.
First, we need to be properly equipped. We need to know what the Bible teaches and learn how to share it with others.
Next, we go out where the people are and tell them about Jesus.

Finally, we must be patient.
If we will do these things, we can really become fishers of people like Jesus wants us to be. If you think there is a great feeling of excitement in catching a fish, just imagine how exciting it must be to bring someone to Jesus!
Dear Jesus, help us become fishers of people. Help us tell others what You have done for us and what you want to do for them. In Jesus’ name, amen.


Jesus said: “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed me.

WHAT LED YOU TO FOLLOW JESUS? How did you come to follow Jesus? He just popped up while you were fishing and you said, yep, I will immediately follow – what is your story? How, when do you share your story?

The prompt for Jesus to call the disciples is the arrest of John.
Jesus has been baptised, the Spirit has come upon him, the testing in the wilderness and leading us to today’s Gospel. We don’t know how much time has passed.
There’s something about John’s arrest – Jesus withdraws leaves his hometown to a more slightly more populous but more of a town located on the Sea there and starts gathering followers.
This is what this people who start movements do right they leave home and they have an idea and they get followers.
I think this is the how Jesus knows when it’s time to get started or why he chooses when it’s time to get started.
It is not only that his friend John is now in jail, but the local tyrant has crossed the line and things aren’t getting better on their own.
Jesus is getting ready to stir things up and he’ll do that in the sermon on the mount next week in a really kind way by starting with, ‘blessed are the poor in spirit and then ending with ‘if you build your house in the sands its gonna come crashing down’.

Jesus began to proclaim repent for the Kingdom of heaven has come near. This was John’s message as well.
Jesus started his ministry with the very word people had heard John the Baptist say: “Repent.”
The message is the same today as when Jesus and John gave it.
Becoming a follower of Christ means turning away from our self-centeredness and “self” control and turning our lives over to Christ’s direction and control.
Yes, good people can do good things. Think of how much more good, life changing loving things that can be done when we surrender our lives to Jesus and are filled and motivated by His Spirit.
I have seen God’s Spirit at work in people sharing the fruit of the Spirit – also in natural disasters and traumatic events – God’s light, I believe does shine forth.

What stops, prevents us/people from surrendering our lives over to Christ’s direction and control? Pride? Selfishness? We are in control?
A reminder for me this week: Not by might, nor by my own power, but, by my Spirit says the Lord.

I reckon this is a real one today: Don’t know any tested other way? How can we step out in faith if we don’t know who we are stepping out to?
Stepping out in faith – we do it because we know Jesus, we love and trust him.
In today’s Gospel and really, in the world – repent – That’s good news for some but not so good news for the empire down the street, the powers that be down the street. Empires filled with greed, evil, corruption, injustice ……………… list could go on.
It’s this immediately declaration of God’s empire, God’s Kingdom is now present in him and that yeah that’s not going to be necessarily always be a popular message.

Especially when you think about how this gospel starts – epiphany – ‘The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned’ – who is that great light? Jesus.
Isaiah speaks of light coming to those in the deep darkness of anguish;
Psalm 27 calls the Lord “my light”; and Jesus fulfills the promise of Isaiah as he begins his ministry.
The light of God calls people to rejoice and to follow Jesus into a ministry of teaching, preaching, and healing.

Jesus’ move in the Gospel today fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 9:1, 2, which states that the Messiah will be a light to the land of Zebulun and Naphtali, the region of Galilee where Capernaum was located.
By quoting from the book of Isaiah, Matthew continues to tie Jesus’ ministry to the Old Testament. This was helpful for his Jewish readers, who were familiar with these Scriptures.
Competing kingdoms in which that that the empirical forces are threatened by this presence, this light of Jesus as a new king and establishing a new a new empire, declaring a new kind of reign.
We want to bring all of that to bear in these opening words as this is the central message of Jesus’ ministry and it’s going to stir up a lot and we’re just getting started here and yet there are these guys, Peter, Andrew, James and John who follow Him.
What has been your experience of the light shining in your darkness?
How has the central message of Jesus stirred you up? Why I follow Jesus.

Stir you up to be fishers of people? If we practice Christ’s teachings and share the gospel with others, we will be able to draw those around us to Christ like a fisherman who pulls fish into his boat with nets.

Story with bible study Wednesday group: sharing about going to Church/he was a Christian. Set of rules/beliefs – NO – it is a loving relationship with Jesus. With God, revealed in Jesus and through the Holy Spirit God’s love has been poured into our hearts and is with us!

My story: there is a better way – God’s way.

We can say, YES, and follow Jesus.
We can ask for, and expect, a real, vibrant and strengthening relationship with the Living God.
Only in this way can we hope to know life, and to truly know and share the blessing of God’s reign.

The Kingdom of Heaven is near. Come follow me.