Jesus Calls Ordinary People
Background for workshop leaders and shepherds
Luke 5:1-11 (Matthew 4:18-22, 10:1-4; Mark 1:16-20, 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16)
Life Guiding Verse:
“Follow Me and I will make you fishers of people.” Matthew 4:19 (New Century Version)
Setting the Stage:
After Jesus’ baptism by John, and temptation in the dessert, Jesus began his ministry in Galilee. As he preached and healed, he began to draw larger and larger crowds. It was during one of these sermons to a large crowd on the shore of the Sea of Galilee (also known as Lake Gennesaret) that this story takes place. It is likely that he already had some consistent followers, perhaps even some disciples who followed him around wherever he preached. We know from records later in the gospels that many women followed Jesus, and were considered disciples. From these many disciples, Jesus chose 12 ordinary men to train to be come apostles, or personal representatives of Jesus, after he was gone. This is the story of how four of those men came to follow Jesus.
In a Nutshell:
If you have ever had to talk to a large group of people outside without a microphone, you know how hard it is to be heard. Of course, a microphone wasn’t even an option in Jesus’ time, so he had to make do. People who live near the water know how well sound of voices is amplified across the surface of a lake. While Jesus was teaching to a crowd on the shore of the Sea of Galilee one morning, he spotted a couple of boats that were moored after the night’s work—a boat a little way out on the water would be the perfect place to teach and to be heard much better. He asked Simon Peter to row him out a short distance from the shore, and he finished his preaching from there. When he was done, he told Peter to go ahead and do some more fishing. Peter was skeptical. He had put in a full night of fishing with no success. Without much hope, Peter let down the nets. To his surprise, the nets filled with such a catch that he had to call his partners to help. The nets ripped and the boats began to sink. Peter, terrified, said to Jesus, “Lord, don’t come near me! I am a sinner,” in an echo of others, such as Jacob and Isaiah, who had found themselves in God’s presence. Jesus responded, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you will be fishers of people.” Peter, his brother Andrew, and their partners, James and John, left everything where it was to follow Jesus.
Using the Story With Children:
A disciple is anyone who does what Jesus taught. When we are baptized and join the church, we have made a statement that we will follow Jesus—that we will be disciples. This is different from becoming an apostle. An apostle is a personal representative, an ambassador of Jesus to the world. Some people think apostleship was limited to the leaders of the early church; others recognize apostleship in modern leaders. Regardless of the title, Jesus does call some disciples to special tasks. Like the first apostles, those whom Jesus calls are ordinary folks, perhaps even the most unlikely among us. What was Peter’s qualification? Only that he bowed before Jesus and admitted that he was a sinner. In this rotation, children will be learning that Jesus invites ordinary disciples to do special jobs.