How did Jesus fulfill God’s big dream? How did Jesus launch a rescue mission? By inviting people to follow Him and then sharing His life with them.
We find in Matthew chapter 4, “One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, ‘Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!’ And they left their nets at once and followed him.” (Matthew 4:18-20, NLT)
Jesus taught and modeled what life in the kingdom of God was all about. Jesus poured into people. He was not concerned with programs and events to reach the multitudes, but with people whom the multitudes would follow.
People would be Jesus’ method of fulfilling God’s big dream.
The initial objective of Jesus’ plan, of His rescue mission, was to invest in people who could share His story and carry on His work after He returned to God the Father.
It’s interesting to look at the people Jesus decided to use. At first glance, they really don’t seem all that impressive. None of them occupied prominent places in the synagogue and most did not have very much in the way of financial resources. For the most part, they were common laboring men, people that you and I can identify with.
They were impulsive, temperamental, easily offended and had all the prejudices of their environment. In short, the people Jesus selected to be His mentees represented an average cross section of society in their day and He didn’t “clean them up” before He asked them to follow Him.
That’s why we don’t expect people to clean up their lives before they come to Connection Point. In fact, we expect that people will have a difficult time cleaning up their lives without an encounter with Jesus. People are welcome to come with their anger issues, prejudice, and life-controlling behaviors. They can come with their smoking addictions, drinking problems, marital discord, and parenting shortfalls. People can came as they are, tattoos and all, knowing people must find a place of belonging before they will arrive at a place of believing in Jesus.
In the end, we are not seeking behavior modification; but rather, we are seeking life change at the deepest heart level.
Only the Holy Spirit can do that kind of work. We create a welcoming environment and foster encounters with Jesus and He does the heavy lifting…thank God!
From our vantage point, the types of people Jesus chose to follow Him are probably not the kind of people we would expect to fulfill God’s big dream. But Jesus saw in this group the potential of leadership for the Kingdom. And He sees it in you too! No, seriously. He sees that in YOU too!!
The early followers of Jesus may not have been the social elite, but they were teachable. They were honest. They were loyal, even obedient. Their hearts were big and they had a sincere longing for God.
And what does that say to us? It says, Jesus can use anyone who wants to be used. He can use you, if you have a desire to live like, and be loyal to Jesus.
But before Jesus invites these men to follow Him, we find in Matthew chapter 4 that Jesus started His preaching career with the words, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”¹ The New Testament was originally written in Greek and the word we translate “repent” comes from the Greek word “metanoia.” James Bryan Smith, in his book, The Good and Beautiful God, points out, “Metanoia refers to the changing of one’s mind.”² The message of Jesus was, “Change your mind, for the kingdom of heaven is coming!”
Peter, Andrew, and others were invited to follow Jesus to learn how to fish for people and the first step was for them to change their mindsets.
Mindsets changed as they spent time with Jesus, as they abided with Him. Their lives were shaped as they received His teaching, as they watched Jesus live, and share the Gospel with others in word and action.
Jesus engaged in a rescue mission by reshaping the mindsets of ordinary men and women who found a place of belonging in God’s Kingdom. He helped them become level 5 obedient followers of Jesus who made the Great Commandment and the Great Commission priorities in their lives.
As part of that process, Jesus encouraged His followers to live sent. We read in Luke chapter 10, “The Lord now chose seventy-two other disciples and sent them ahead in pairs to all the towns and places he planned to visit.” (Luke 10:1, NLT)
Jesus worked toward the fulfillment of God’s big dream by launching a rescue mission on earth. He invited people to follow Him, to abide with Him, and to come as they were. He taught them and invited them to change their mindsets. And then He invited them to live sent.³
The result of this process was the seventy-two returning joyfully, having been used by God. Luke writes, “The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!’ And he said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.’” (Luke 10:17-18, ESV)
We, as a church, are committed to helping people live like Jesus. We have spent years creating processes to lead people through to help them experience the joy of participating in the rescue mission of Jesus, in fulfillment of God’s big dream. You are a child of God, in whom the Spirit of God dwells, and you have the power and authority to storm the very gates of hell (Matthew 16:18).
As we get into our “Great Awakening” series next week, we will begin to share how we, as a church, are preparing for the kingdom movement God desires to bring to the Greater Lafayette area. We plan to spend the next several years pouring into people so that they know how to live whole, live Jesus, and live sent.
The question is, will you be a part? Will you be a part of the rescue mission of Jesus? Will you engage the culture we live in? Will you fulfill your primary calling in your secondary profession? Will you rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to do it? Will you be kind, present and brave with all those you come in contact with?
Will you live an extraordinary life as an everyday disciple maker of Jesus? Our hope is, you will!
We’d Love to hear from you!
What mindsets have changed in your life since you made a decision to follow Jesus? Share your comments below.
1 Matthew 4:17
2 Smith, James Bryan. The Good and Beautiful God. pg. 27
3 You can also find a video message of this content here.