When God Interrupts Your Family, Pastor Phil Sessa

Matthew 4:21-22, “21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him”

The family was God’s creation and therefore originated in God. Families come in all shapes and sizes. In Genesis 12:3, “God spoke these words to Abram, ”I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

And because God is the author of the family, He is also the anchor of it as well. There are two ways to look at the term family. One, those to whom you are connected to biologically, and secondly, those to whom belong with you to the family of God through the spiritual bloodline of Jesus Christ, Gentiles being grafted in.

Jesus had gathered to Himself two disciples, Peter and Andrew, and now he sees two more fishermen James and John as they are with their father mending their nets. I do not know why Jesus called so many fishermen to Himself as disciples, as four out of twelve, or one third of them were in fact fishermen. These two brothers upon hearing the call of Jesus left their ship and their father and followed Him. I can imagine that this was a family fishing business. Upon leaving would dad have the capability of carrying this business on his own? If not how would that affect their income, home, and family life? Would this show to be a dishonoring of their father and mother? What would dad think of them leaving him, and their trade to follow a carpenter’s call? Despite all these possible questions Jesus still calls and they follow Him leaving both their ship (job) and their father (family) to become His disciple. Luke 14:26 reads, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters-yes, even his own life-he cannot be my disciple.” Wow, talk about tough meat to swallow. When I asked a teen of mine from our previous church to study this passage and tell me the meaning of it he said it like this, “Jesus is to be at the top of your love list.” I like that explanation. Jesus is to be so purposefully placed at the top of your love list that everyone below Him can see unequivocally that He is focal point of your life, even to the point whereby some may become jealous of your relationship with Him. This surely affects a family when one, two, etc… of the family members heeds the call of God in their lives. I’ve heard it said that the military will not put two family members in the same platoon for the possibility of losing both at the same time in war. However, Jesus breaks that rule as He puts them both on His team. This is why God heart is for the whole family to be saved (see Acts 16:27-31). Paul and Silas spoke the words, “31 Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved-you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.” God does want the family to serve Him. There exists a spiritual understanding that Jesus is Lord. This I believe is the blessing of Abraham as it is spiritually applied. However it doesn’t always work out like this.

Even though God desires salvation for your whole earthly family, being part of His call as your Father is of greater importance to Him. Consider a converted Orthodox Jew who came to Christ, and the response of his family. His family had a “mock” funeral for him pronouncing him dead to the family because of his decision to follow Jesus, the Messiah that they don’t believe in, as he left the “faith” in their eyes. He was treated as an outcast never to be spoken to again, or invited to his family’s home. I met this man, and although it broke his heart to follow Christ in the fact that his family responded as such, it showed that Jesus was truly on the top of his love list. Jesus may interrupt your family, and it may be costly, bit if He is on top of your love list, it would be more costly not to follow Him!

Application: What would you do if Jesus called you to follow Him and it meant “leaving” your family? Would you stay or would you go? Your response would show where He is on your love list. Blessings Pastor Phil

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