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greatest sermon challenge

Early in his New Testament gospel, Matthew recounts Jesus’ invitation (actually it’s an expectation—even demand) for two fishermen to follow Him with the promise, “I will make you fish for people.” The question arises if all followers of Christ are to “fish for people.” Or is evangelism for only select Christians? After all, Jesus doesn’t promise to make the next two people He called, “fish for people.”

Matthew follows Jesus’ challenging four fishermen to follow Him with a brief transition paragraph that leads into His
sermon on the mount. Might fishing for people and the sermon on the mount be connected?
I’ve always felt cheated by how Jesus empowered His twelve disciples to fish for people. He gave them miraculous powers! The ability to do miracles is like fishing with dynamite. Anyone having the power to do miracles would be a successful evangelist. I’m not a successful evangelist. If God wants me to be better at fishing for people, He should give me miraculous powers.

(Perhaps the devil might want God to make me a miracle worker. There may be no surer way to make me a spiritual failure than to give me miraculous powers. My miracles would make me a celebrity. I’d become self-impressed and soon self-righteous and then… .)

What if miracles are not the best way to make you fish for people. What if it is the sermon on the mount that makes for truly effective evangelism. Not preaching it, but living it—exuding it. Jesus’ sermon on the mount demands His followers adopt an upside-down way of living: to
live sacrificially instead of self-protectively, to love radically and live by faith.

The challenge.

Read through Jesus’ sermon on the mount twice a week for three weeks. That’s reading just one chapter a day, with a day off each week. You could listen to an audible reading via a Bible app or
our church website.

The proposition.

Repeated readings of the sermon on the mount will prompt you to think extensively and deeply about what you’re reading, and cause your spirit to meditate on it. Your reading, thinking, meditating will give God the Holy Spirit time, space, and permission to reorient and re-prioritize your life. Your then transformed life will make you life-nurturing person, a spring of living spiritual water refreshing and renewing others. Follow Jesus like this, He will make you fish for people. ~

Dan Nygaard