The Call to Discipleship – Lesson 4

Book of LukeHe’s sitting in a boat teaching. There is a massive crowd standing before Him with one particular thing in common. Luke 5:1 reads, “The multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God.”

This week as we look at “The Call to Discipleship,” we will concentrate on the events of this day in history. The lessons are many.

We could discuss if we really believe that the Word alone is powerful enough to draw men and women, or, if instead, we need to hide it behind a shiny exterior of excitement and entertainment. We could examine the prominence the Word has in our lives both privately and corporately.

I like Luke 5:4 because it typifies how Jesus gives directions with no uncertainty. Life is challenging. It seems that as soon as we start to get a handle on living we look back and see the years that were wasted in aimless pursuits because we lacked direction. But His directions are sure and the outcome of following His commands is already determined. “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” Luke 5:4

Simon, in verse five, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing”, speaks for many of us. Our failures and disappointments are so prevalent in our minds that instantly we think of what we can’t do. Like Simon we say we’ve already done our best and our best time for success has passed us by. And if it were all on us to succeed, that’s where the story would end.

But Simon took Him at His word and acted. Simon was directed to go back out into the same waters where he had just experienced defeat. He was not given a special net or inside secrets on catching fish. The only difference in what Simon took to his task was the simple instruction of Jesus.

Luke is writing a history of how a common man can do uncommon things simply by trusting Jesus and taking Him at His word. Amid all of the noise of life we often forget this central truth. We look at ourselves and we see so many instances of failure. We know our limitations and this keeps us from doing more. But today, heaven is saying, “Launch out into the deep.”

Luke writes about the huge haul of fish Simon and his companions caught that day. Overwhelmed by this clear encounter with Divinity, Simon from the depths of his soul cries out, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” Luke 5:8

Humility comes from facing divinity. Daniel experienced this as recorded in Daniel 10:8“for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.” When the veil is pulled aside and divinity flashes through, our pride is vanquished.

In what happened next that, Jesus is speaking not only to Simon but to all of us.

“And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” Luke 5 10.

This is not merely instructions – this is a purpose for our lives. Being a disciple is more than a label; it is the consuming mission of our lives. Jesus gives us  a reason for being. Life is about more than building bigger barns. It is about “catching men” for the Kingdom.

Now let’s go back to the beach at Lake Gennesaret. What will Simon and his companions do with this fresh encounter with Jesus? Will they bask in the miracle and add this to their treasures of great memories? Will they use this to find new status in their community or perhaps take advantage of this windfall to secure their futures?

Luke tells us the answer in one sentence. So insightful (sometimes frightful) these last words are. They encapsulate our part in the equation of discipleship.

“So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.” Luke 5:11

Lord, make us willing to be willing.

Here are a few Hit the Mark questions for this week’s lesson discussion:

  • What does the word disciple mean to you?
  • What, if any, is the difference between a disciple and a church member?
  • What, if any, is the difference between a disciple and a convert?
  • What does it mean to “catch men?”
  • Are all disciples called to the same mission to “catch men?” Why yes or no?
  • Is the following statement True, Mostly True, Somewhat True or Not True: As long as I at least contribute financially to soul winning, I am fulfilling my mission in life. Explain your answer.

We close this week with one short sentence from Jesus. Let’s think about the wonderful promise contained in these words:

“For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 16:25

Until next week, let’s all continue to Hit the Mark in Sabbath School!

For online lessons please visit http://www.ssnet.org/lessons/15b/less04.html

photo by Curtis Hall

photo by Curtis Hall

Who is Jesus Christ – Lesson 3

Book of LukeThe charge would have been attempted murder. They fully intended to kill Him. What makes this more shocking is that they accosted Him in the sacred temple. The solemnity of their worship was turned into a mob scene of violence. In  a rage they pounced on Him, grabbing and dragging Him out of the temple, down the streets until they came to the edge of a cliff.


Luke 4
records that day with painful clarity. Jesus, as His custom was, attended the Sabbath temple service. Taking in His hands the sacred Scriptures He began to read aloud a wonderful passage from Isaiah.The same voices that just a short while ago were expressing reverence and praise to God were now pouring forth curses and accusations. The hands that had been clasped in prayer and salutations were now reaching to thrust Him off the cliff to an immediate death. They wanted Him dead! But why?

photo by Curtis Hall

photo by Curtis Hall

Baptism and the Temptations – Lesson 2

Book of LukeSo the people asked him, saying, “What shall we do then?”

He answered and said to them, “He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.” Luke 3:10-11

That one response from John the Baptist was so insightful for this week’s lesson on Baptism and the Temptations that we will spend all of this article’s time with it.

For background, we know that John had been preaching a message of the coming of a new kingdom. Entrance into this kingdom could not be had without repentance. To his listeners this was a call to a radical change in life. The former things would need to pass away and new ways of living and thinking were necessary.

photo by Curtis Hall

photo by Curtis Hall

The Coming of Jesus – Lesson 1

Book of Luke

Where was the pomp and ceremony? Where were the billboards and flashing lights? Where were the parades full of colorfully dressed marchers and floats full of VIPs? Surely, the most anticipated event of the nation would not go unnoticed and uncelebrated.

“And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7

To humble, unheralded parents, the greatest gift to mankind was entrusted and Luke, with unmatched preciseness, begins to unfold the story of the world’s Redeemer.

“Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.” Luke 1:1-4

This quarter we are fortunate to have for our study the Gospel of Luke starting with The Coming of Jesus. From beginning to end it tells the story of Jesus and opens to its readers divine insight and history. Luke, a physician, surely never imagined that he would not only one day write such a history, but that it would endure the test of time and serve as an integral part of the Scriptures.

photo by Curtis Hall

photo by Curtis Hall

Women and Wine – Lesson 13

focused I must admit, when I first saw the title of this week’s lesson I was less than excited. I’m to be a guest teacher at a church this weekend and envisioning myself, a man, warning against the evils of loose women, was not a happy thought. Plus, the dangers of and avoidance of alcohol is something that most of us already embrace. But then as I looked more closely at the texts for this week I became amazed at how impactful this lesson really is.

My Aha! moment came as I noticed the reason why this unnamed mother of king Lemuel warned her son against the consumption of alcohol. If we look closely and listen carefully we can discover the bigger picture and principle being shared.

It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
It is not for kings to drink wine,
Nor for princes intoxicating drink;
Lest they drink and forget the law,
And pervert the justice of all the afflicted. Proverbs 31:4-5

Did you catch it? This mother’s wisdom to her son was that he must remain focused and not allow outside influences to divert him from his mission in life. The key word is focused – having clarity about the purpose of your life and a commitment to fulfill it. That means a lot.

 

photo by Curtis Hall

photo by Curtis Hall