By: Brandon Dirks
Coming over the hill at night was my first look at the sea where Jesus started his ministry by calling his disciples. It was dark. Seems huge. But I really don’t know. And the somewhat steep, giant bowl-like hill side is packed with houses that look over the sea. I know Jesus called the disciples in Capernaum, and our hotel is in the city of Tiberius also nestled on the edge of the sea…but it still seems fitting that this will be the place I will spend my first night in Israel. I am hoping to hear a renewed calling as a disciple of Jesus. I can’t wait to run along the sea in the morning at sunrise, the same sea where Jesus walked when he found his disciples. (Don’t worry, I asked the front desk if it is safe for me to go for a sunrise run. She simply said…it will be beautiful!)
“Come follow me,” Jesus said. “And, I will make you fishers of people.”
I will be thinking of Matthew 4:19 on my run. I have no idea what it will look like in the morning….but I believe I will experience something “thin.” Celtic Christianity used the term “thin places” to describe a place where the boundary between heaven and earth is especially thin. A place where one can experience the divine more noticeably. It seems fitting that along the Sea of Galilee might be my first “thin place” in a country full of “thin places.”
“Come follow me.” The first steps I took to become a BELIEVER were long and hard. But the toughest step was becoming a FOLLOWER. Am I willing to have the Lord call the shots in my life? Was I really going to do the things Jesus commanded? I think a lot of people are simply comfortable with being a Believer. But Jesus called his believers to actually DO what he SAID.
“I will make you.” Ever since, I’ve been on amazing journey where Jesus shaped me to be a disciple. I wanted to be a disciple on my terms, but it wasn’t until I was willing to surrender everything to Him, that I truly started to be transformed. It wasn’t until I actually OBEYED Jesus that I started to become LIKE Jesus. Jesus was training me for something…I just knew it. Discipleship is training.
“Fishers for people.” He has trained me to go and make disciples. The purpose of a disciple is to make disciples who make disciples who make a high impact on the world. What Jesus has done in me, I am compelled to do in others.
These four calls I’ve heard and continue to respond to are the same four calls you hear as a Believer, Follower, Disciple, and Disciple-Maker. I pray I hear those same words in the thin place of my run in the morning.
Break my heart, Lord.
(AFTER MY RUN NOTE: I am struck by how big the sea is, but I can still see the other side. I would be able to see all that is going on the sea if I wanted. Wow. And, the thought occurred to me. Jesus met his disciples “on the other side” and served them breakfast (after the resurrection). I could have stepped on the very spot! Holy Cow!)
After my run and my personal worship time, I used my selfie stick (the same one I used in my December sermon) to take these photos of the Sea of Galilee in the city of Tiberius from the balcony of my hotel.