I recently found an interesting pairing in the synoptic Gospels. Did you know, when Jesus called His disciples, He was preaching repentance?
Biblical repentance is defined as someone making a 180-degree turn in life. They tread in one direction full speed ahead, and then, they turn to trek in the opposite direction. Only a divine encounter can produce such a directional change in any man or woman’s life.
We need real life examples to demonstrate what repentance truly looks like. Thus, the need for the disciples.
The Twelve became living, breathing visual aids to what Jesus can do with a sinful man who meets his Savior. These men went to work one morning but hours later left work drastically changed. I imagine their families and friends spent days in bewilderment. What had happened?
The disciples encountered Jesus. He began His ministry where John the Baptist ended; with the same sermon, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” The transforming power of repentance thundered throughout the land.
Matthew and Mark’s accounts tell us the message. Repent! Luke’s account shows us how it happened. Read Luke 5:1-11 before reading my summary.
- The men lived normal lives.
- Jesus entered the scene and began to ‘open their minds’ with His teaching. (An unrecorded yet powerful impartation of truth.)
- Just in case His Words weren’t enough, Jesus gave them a personal demonstration of His power. He validated the Word with a miracle.
- The combination of the two, though one would have been sufficient, and instantly Simon Peter falls under deep conviction.
- James and John also see and experience God firsthand.
- Jesus comforted them with His plan for their lives.
- Immediately, the men left everything and followed Jesus.
What makes a man cry out, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” one moment and the next, so eager to follow this Lord that He forsakes all he has?
I think it’s the tenderness shown here. Peter, James and John saw their wickedness against the purity of God and knew they deserved death. Not only were they still breathing; but this holy God was actually comforting them. He then does the impossible. Instead of inflicting the death sentence, He promised them future glory in His Kingdom.
Only Jesus can bring a flooding dread of His wrath at the same time as His mercy showers grace upon the repentant heart.
Only a hard-hearted fool could refuse such an offer of love.
Jesus chose twelve men to model the radical obedience of discipleship. We can explore their lives and find evidence of true 180-degree repentance. Thank you Jesus for giving us twelve examples.
If Jesus can transform the wealthy sons of a businessman, the average fisherman, and the sinful tax collector–couldn’t He transform you and me? Have you encountered Him for salvation, true repentance, and His plan for your life?
If not, why not?
Live out the Message.
Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand.