Sermon: The Messiah and His First Followers Matthew 4:18–25

The Messiah and His First Followers

Matthew 4:18–25

Truth Taught- Jesus chose His first followers

and immediately they respond to His call.

 

Introduction

As we begin today let’s look together at our Lord’s first disciples and His first teaching. We will also see that as He calls His disciples there is an immediate response they begin to follow and then we will also see the great crowds also follow. Let’s look together as God’s Word.

Prayer

Matthew 4:18–25 (ESV)

18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

23 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them. 25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.

  1. The Disciples Follow Jesus

18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Matthew only gives us the calling of four of Jesus’ disciples and himself, later in Chapter 9. This is, no doubt, the typical way in which Jesus called all the disciples. His basic words were come follow Me. These words were not temporary like come follow me today as we walk along the beach. Instead, this calling was a lifetime commitment to follow Him and to become a disciple.

Jesus calls both sets of brothers while they were doing their everyday tasks. They were fishermen and were doing things fishermen do. Some were casting their nets and some were mending nets. This is important because Jesus then tells them that He is going to cause them to be fishers of men. Their profession is now doing what He is doing.

To respond to the call of Christ is to respond to a life change. They were no longer going to be fishermen. They were not going to be in business anymore, owning boats and nets. You see, with the call comes the requirement that they were leaving their old life behind and were starting out a new life with Jesus.

I’m afraid too many today think that you can keep your old life and just add Jesus to the mix. Discipleship calls for a lifetime commitment and a life change for everyone who takes the Lord’s offer. Jesus is not an add-on or someone or something to make your current life a little better. To be a true disciple and a true follower of Jesus we must in every case change and give up some and maybe even all of our former life.

Luke 14:25–33 (ESV)

25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

Jesus will be your Lord and Savior or He will be your Judge.

I want you to see something else. Look at the response time of each call… 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him… 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

What was it about Jesus that made them respond so quickly? I don’t think this was the first time they had met Him. In fact, Luke fills us in and tells us probably the day before they had met Jesus and were greatly astonished.

Luke 5:1–11 (ESV)

On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” 11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.

They had not caught anything all night and Jesus tells them to put out a little deeper and cast their nets. When they do they haul in such a large catch that they need help from their partners…They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them…10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon.

Now it’s probably the next day and Jesus walks up to them, they were probably still talking about it, and calls them to become His disciple and He says, now let’s go catch people.

They were not so much astonished at the great catch of fish as much as they were over this Man who can even command creation and it obeys. They were astonished and fell down to worship Him.

We will never follow Jesus like we should until he astonishes us. Until we are amazed and surprised by Jesus we will not be the followers He wants us to be. The great catch of fish brings the disciples to their knees in worship and wonder at Jesus. They are not thinking wow, we need to bring Jesus along more often if He can do this. No they were astonished at Him and responded in worship and praise.

Beloved we must not use Jesus to get other things but be astonished over Him for who He is and what He has done. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”

The great miracle was not so much the catch of fish but Peter’s response. How did this catch of fish show Peter that he was a great sinner? Because it showed him that he was standing in the presence of deity. Only God can do these things. Only God could cause a multitude of fish to swim into Peter’s net. Only God could say this is the spot Peter, through out your net right here.

Jesus controls nature and is sovereign over all the fish in the sea…

Matthew 17:26–27 (ESV)

26 And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. 27 However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.”

Only the Creator is sovereign over all His creation including all the animals. When Jesus commands fish to swim into nets and fish to deliver coins He proves His deity over all creation.

The big difference between His true followers like the disciples and the other would- be followers is when Jesus performs a miracle they worship Him. The would-be followers are more concerned with getting rich and healthy at Jesus’ expense.

  1. Great Crowds Followed Jesus

23 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them. 25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.

Jesus had a threefold ministry…teaching, preaching and healing.

Jesus taught in their synagogues. He taught the people in the places where they were gathered to worship God. He taught them things concerning the Kingdom of God and God’s sovereign rule especially in being sent to save sinners.

Jesus preached usually as He travelled from place to place He would address the people with proclamation. Jesus’ preaching had an aspect of response to it. That is the main difference between teaching and preaching. Preaching demands the hearers to respond in faith and repentance.

The third component to Jesus’ ministry was healing. Matthew is very interested in healing. Healing every disease and every affliction among the people.

Jesus brought wholeness to people, as it were, He saved them body and soul.

Jews of Jesus’ day understood as we should that sickness and disease are part of a fallen world and directly related to fallen man’s sin. To defeat sickness and disease is to reverse the curse of sin. Jesus did both because both are related to each other.

It’s important to understand that if someone is sick it may not be because of some sin they committed but it is because we live is a sinful and fallen world. So in a very real sense, sickness and sin go hand in hand.

What Jesus was doing here could not go unnoticed.

24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them.

The point Matthew is making here is that there was no sickness or affliction Jesus could not heal. He restored all who were brought to Him because all people are afflicted with sin and affliction.

Jesus is showing us a preview of what the world one day will be like. Someday, when sin is eternally defeated there will be no more sickness and no more curse. In the new heavens and the new earth there will be no more sickness.

Revelation 21:4–5 (ESV)

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Now, there was a difference between Jesus’ followers and the great crowd that He drew. His followers saw the miracles and fell down in worship and awe. They connected the dots from the great healing miracles to Jesus’ Person. They knew that the healings, as amazing as they were, pointed to One greater than they, namely, they pointed to God.

Only God can heal.

Those physical healings were vivid displays of both Jesus’ power and His compassion. They were proof of His deity and living demonstrations of His divine authority. They established His unlimited ability to liberate anyone and everyone from the bondage, the penalty, and the consequences of sin. As such, the healing ministry of Jesus was illustrative of the gospel message, a true expression of divine compassion, and a definitive verification of His messianic credentials.

King David many centuries before Jesus had this to say about the Messiah who was God’s King and God’s Son…

Psalm 103:1–5 (ESV)

   Bless the Lord, O my soul,

and all that is within me,

bless his holy name!

   Bless the Lord, O my soul,

and forget not all his benefits,

   who forgives all your iniquity,

who heals all your diseases,

   who redeems your life from the pit,

who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

   who satisfies you with good

so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

God’s Messiah would be a healer and one who forgives sin…
Matthew 9:1–8 (ESV)

And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.

Healing is a double-edged sword. On the one hand it showed beyond any doubt that Jesus was everything He claimed to be. He is God because only God can heal by the Word of His mouth. It showed that Jesus has authority over all diseases and demons. It showed that the God of creation also loves people. It showed by way of a sneak preview what the world will be like one day. At the same time, Jesus gathered crowds who were not so much into Him as they were into health and wealth…sound familiar?

John 2:23–25 (ESV)

23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. 24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

These people only followed Jesus because they could get a healing, wealth, or a free meal. When Jesus became more difficult to follow they abandoned Him. Many abandoned Him even when His teaching became hard to hear.

John 6:64–68 (ESV)

64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,

Application

There are two kinds of people portrayed before us today: One the one hand we have His disciples who followed immediately and who saw His miracles as fuel for worship. In other words, the more they saw the more they loved and stood in awe of Jesus. On the other hand, there was the crowds who saw the miracles and simply wanted more healings etc. They didn’t worship Jesus but they adored what He gave them.

We must be very careful that we are not among those who only want Jesus as long as He can give us something. We must seek to give all glory to Christ and even when things are difficult we, as true worshippers, cling to Christ all the more.

The danger today is that many churches are preaching a Christ who is there to give you things. His purpose is to be there for you. His purpose is to simply add a little flavor to your life. These churches never speak of the cost of discipleship or the commitment God requires of those who would follow Christ. The crowd will take Jesus when its convenient and when He can add something that they lack.

They might want peace of mind- I feel better about myself know because I’m going to heaven.

They might want security- I feel better now that I have Jesus in my life.

What we must seek is to love Jesus simply for Jesus and nothing else. He is worthy to be worshipped should everything come crashing down around us. He is worthy!!

Ask God to reveal to you which type of person you are. Are you a disciple or a crowd member?

Pray-

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Resources Used:

Matthew by D A Carson in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary

A Theology of Matthew by Charles Quarles

A Gospel of Matthew by France

Matthew by Craig Bloomberg

Matthew by Doriani

Matthew by Charles Price

Matthew by Leon Morris

Blue Letter Bible

 

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