18 As he was walking along the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter), and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. 19 “Follow me,” he told them, “and I will make you fish for people.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat with Zebedee their father, preparing their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
If I were granted by a genie the ability to teach one topic perfectly, so everyone who ever heard me would understand it completely and act boldly in response, then I would unhesitatingly yell, “The kingdom of God!”
Kingdoms are bizarre to the American mind. We have them in our fantasy stories and read about them in history books, but most of us have never experienced one or been a part of one. However, all of us who confess Christ as Lord and believe God raised him from the dead are actually kingdom people…RIGHT NOW!
Jesus talked about the kingdom of God more than anything else. In the text today we see Him calling some young men to a specific purpose: Follow me, and I’ll make you fish for people. They followed Him, leaving their trade. Later James and John would also leave their trade and their father to follow Jesus and to become, by the work of the Spirit, fishers for people.
I want to draw your attention, however, to verse 23, because here we we learn what following Jesus and fishing for people entails—and it’s really basic. Jesus went around the region TEACHING in the synagogues, PREACHING the good news of the kingdom, and HEALING every disease and sickness among the people. That’s it.
Here we have both the what and the how for what it means to be a disciple who multiplies disciples. It’s followers of Jesus fishing for people by teaching, preaching and healing. That’s the Christian life, and it comes in a myriad of unique callings. But we cannot endure in the what and the how if we don’t have the why. We are kingdom people because we live in the kingdom of God, which was inaugurated by the death and resurrection of Jesus and in which we are empowered by the Holy Spirit. If you don’t understand yourself that way, then you do not see yourself as God sees you. And if you can’t see yourself through God’s eyes, you’ll believe Satan’s lies about you, and you’ll miss out on the joyous fruit of making disciples.
As strange as it may seem, you are a kingdom person. You’re in God’s kingdom now, and you are waiting for it to be completed when Jesus returns. In the meanwhile, we have been given kingdom authority to make disciples—to expand Christ’s kingdom, or, as I like to say it, to make our family bigger. Live into that authority, and make disciples with Jesus.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- If there’s one book I’d have you read other than the Bible, it’d be The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard. It is not the simplest read, but give it a shot, invite some others to read it with you, and ask Christian leaders for help.
- Use your concordance in the back of your Bible to look up “kingdom.” Read all the Gospel verses about the kingdom and reflect on them.
- What is your natural next step? Here are your options:
- Follow Jesus. Reach out to a staff member or a Christian friend and ask how to follow Jesus for the first time.
- Preach the good news of the kingdom. Share with an unbelieving friends the good news that Jesus died for you and how you now walk with Him.
- Heal every disease and sickness. If, like me, you don’t have the gift of healing, then minister to people in some way: donate blood, feed the hungry, comfort the grieving. Take some unbelieving friends with you as you serve to show them what the kingdom of God is.
- Teach in the synagogues. We’re designed for community, so reach out to a staff member about hosting or leading a group. They will train and prepare you to have an impact in your community!
Create a make- believe kingdom within your family. What is everyone’s role? Then, allow everyone to be in charge for one day (or one part of a day). Talk about what you need to do if you are in charge to have people follow you. Afterwards, talk with you family about how Jesus the the ruler of His kingdom; He is in charge. Talk about what our responsibility is to be a part of His kingdom and to help others follow Him.
Pray for resources, opportunity and perseverance for our global workers to continue their education, equipping and training them to better open doors for the gospel in their contexts. We currently have global workers pursuing degrees in seminary studies, midwifery and art therapy, in addition to learning languages.