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Three Steps in following Jesus
February 17, 2022

The sea is a place closely linked with Jesus and His disciples.

Possibly, this is because four of the disciples are fishermen, or Jesus often uses boat as a means of transportation. To an extent, the sea image does depict one’s life. The sea acts as a metaphor for the uncertain and ever-changing nature of life. The shifting winds at sea represent winds of change, a metaphor for the transient nature of life. According to Revelation 21:1, when a new heaven and a new earth come, there is “no longer any sea”. Here, the word “sea” refers to the world.

Starting today, for three consecutive Sundays, I will share on the events that took place at sea between Jesus and His disciples. Today’s sharing, “Three Steps in Following Jesus”, is based on Luke 5:1-11.

In the early days of Jesus’ ministry, one day He was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret*, the people were crowding around Him and listening to the word of God. He then got into a boat, sat down, and taught the people from the boat after it was put out a little from shore.

Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
– Luke 9:23

After Jesus had finished speaking, He asked Peter to put out the boat into deep water and let down the nets for a catch. Consequently, many fish were caught. Astonished at the catch of fish, Peter immediately fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” Why did Peter react in this way? After all, this is not the first time, but the second time that Jesus had called him (see Matthew 4:18-22). For some reason, after the first call, Peter returned to his trade of fishing. Therefore, Peter confessed that, “I am a sinner”, in acknowledgement that he is unworthy and unqualified. However, he did not reject Jesus. Instead, he pleaded with Jesus: “Don’t come any closer to me, don’t enforce the call on me, I’m unqualified. If You come close again, I may surrender.

Therefore, the first step in following Jesus is to confess our unworthiness.

The second step is to put our obedience into action. When Jesus first got into the boat and asked Peter to put it out a little from shore, Peter obeyed. Later, when Jesus asked Peter to put the boat out into deep water, Peter resisted the request initially but obeyed shortly after.

Finally, and most importantly, the third step is to leave everything and follow Jesus. Peter left everything behind, including his boat, his means of livelihood, his future, his skills, and his ideals.

In following Jesus, why do we have to leave everything, including our own lives? Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23).

In living the ways of the world, our goal in life is to pursue material possessions and to do what we please. In following Jesus, our goal in life is to do what God wants us to do and to love what God loves. When our lives are anchored in Christ, though our physical bodies will decay gradually, our spiritual lives will be renewed again and again, becoming increasingly abundant and increasingly like Jesus.

* Lake of Gennesaret is also known as the Sea of Galilee or the Lake of Tiberias.

By Rev Herman Kan

Associate Pastor