NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from The Gospel Project curriculum.
Bible Passages: Matthew 3:1-12; 4:17-25; 21:1-11
Discussion Questions: What is the significance of Christ calling ordinary fishermen to follow Him? What are some things we must leave behind in order to follow Christ? How does our church resemble the unlikely followers of Jesus — the Pharisees and Sadducees?
Food for Thought:
Scholars and preachers make much of the ordinariness of these men, and so they should. However, fishermen in Galilean culture were not necessarily in the lower economic class. They were well-paid men central to the economy and the food supply of the community. Still, no one in that day likely expected global influencers to emerge from the fishing boats of the secluded lake in the northern hills.
What brought these men together? Jesus offered the answer in His invitation to them. If they would follow Him, He would make them “fish for people.” Peter’s and John’s unity around the mission defined their lives even unto death, as they both would become fishers of people among different groups with significant effects. These were ordinary men whose lives would be made more than ordinary.
Dropping their nets as fishermen to become fishers of men is not something we should take lightly. Remember, these men were not living in poverty. Why did they do it? Because in following Jesus, what defined them changed. Their identity would now be wrapped up in this Rabbi whose life would be laid down on a loving mission. Their identity would be measured by this Son in whom the Father delighted.
This is the Gospel of the Kingdom. Consider these four bullet points as a summary of this Gospel and the way it impacted the first disciples.
— The King loved first. The Son of God was compassionate in giving life to us. Fully aware that left to ourselves, we would choose the pleasures of this life over the Giver of life, He made us anyway, because He is love.
— The King chose first. The Son of God chose to free us from the indulgences we are enslaved to. He planned to forgive before we ever asked because He is gracious.
— The King moved first. The Son of God came near. He did not wait for us to move out of our selfish destruction and consuming afflictions. He moved into them; He brought light into darkness and life into death. He initiated our healing because He is merciful.
— The King resurrected first. The Son of God lives, and He makes us alive again because He is life.
This is good news. It is good news that we can believe. It is good news that we can experience together. And it is good news that we are compelled to give to the lost and lonely. We as His church give away the Gospel by living within the Kingdom of God and drawing near to a world oppressed by a kingdom of self-destruction. We invite others to be made whole and secure by the King who wants to make them fishers of people.
The Gospel Project
The Gospel Project is a Christ-centered curriculum that examines the grand narrative of Scripture and how the Gospel transforms the lives of those it touches. Through a three-year study plan, participants are immersed in the Gospel through stories, theological concepts, and calls to missions from Genesis to Revelation. Separate study plans for kids and students/adults ensure the proper focus and depth. The Gospel Project is designed to unify an entire church under a single Christ-centered curriculum. More information, free samples, and The Gospel Project blog can be found at gospelproject.com .
Other ongoing Bible study options offered by LifeWay for all ages can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool.