“And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” Mark 1:17 ESV With these words, Jesus called His disciples and immediately they got up and followed Him! Today at International Lutheran Church we continue our celebration of Epiphany as we witness Jesus’ Epiphany at the Sea of Galilee and He calls us to follow Him too. What will move us to get up and go?

With the arrest of John, the time had come for Jesus’ ministry to begin. It might seem a bit odd, but this is God’s kingdom Jesus was proclaiming not our own. His kingdom does not come in power, but in the emptiness of the cross and the humility of a manger. Jesus’ own incarnation, the Son of God hidden in the Man from Nazareth, is the way of God. Like Jonah sent to preach to Nineveh, Jesus had come to call sinners to repentance. What is new is that Jesus is also the One in whom the disciples were called to follow.

I am sure for many of us there are lots of reasons why we do the things we do. We might find it fun. We might find it meaningful or interesting. It may even be that there is an anticipated outcome that we are after. These might even be some of the same reasons that move us and motivate us to come to church. Maybe there have even been reasons when we wanted to leave. Sometimes we can be disappointed when we find the “kingdom” to be different than we had thought or imagined.

But this is precisely why it is Jesus who came to call Andrew and Simon, James and John. It is why Jesus comes the same today, not in a show of power that no one can resist, but in the simple invitation to come and be with Him. He calls one and all to see the grace of God revealed in and through the cross that He bore for us. What makes us get up and follow Him? He is neither a powerful example nor an example of power, but rather the One who would make His good news come alive in us. In Him, our repentance from our sin turns to belief in the forgiveness that is ours in Him. This is new. We are changed.

We are no longer the same. Jesus “makes us” into His own instrument to bring others into His Kingdom.  For the “fishermen” who left their nets to follow Him, they would become “fishers of men.” For the “tax collectors” who left their tables, they would become the ones to declare in Jesus that our “tax” is paid in full. For the “doctors” who would see and respond to His grace, they would become the ones to show how in “His wounds” all our “illnesses” are healed. This is His Kingdom where God turns our brokenness into an opportunity for both us and others to see God’s grace.

His Kingdom is here! Repent and believe! Come, follow Him and experience how He will change us and use us to bring His Kingdom to many!

Pastor Carl