Gospel Message & Recording
In the Gospel Reading today we hear about two fishermen, Peter and Andrew, who were fishing at the Sea of Galilee and how Jesus called them to follow him, that is become his disciples, by saying, “Follow me, I will make you fishers of men.” The meaning of this saying, “fishers of men” is known to the common believer. It basically means rather than catching fish, Christ will make them catch men and women into the kingdom of God, not with nets, but with the “spiritual net” of the Gospel, established by Jesus Christ.
Here, what I want to focus on is not the “fishers of men” concept but rather where Christ told them to “follow him.” As I rested the content and points of this week’s message at the “Altar of Christ,” he spoke to me about what it means to follow him. First and foremost, when Christ asked Peter and Andrew to follow him, it was a “physical following.” That is, Christ was in front of them—physically and visibly. They disciples of Jesus physically followed him.
After the resurrection and ascension of Christ into heaven to be seated at the right hand of God in power and glory, his physical presence in the earth was no more. However, Christ (after ascension) would live inside the hearts of men. And so, to follow him means to follow the Christ within. For Christians, to follow Christ means to “look within” and find him complete and totally. For non Christians the same path is evident. To discard their former religion and accept Jesus as Savior and Lord, means that they had an encounter with Christ, not physically, but within; that is, there was a changing of the heart to know Christ and feel his love.
So, then, what does it mean to follow the Christ within? It means to look inside you, with self-contemplation and reflection, and realize that we only need to surrender our desires to him and receive his love. Stop looking “outside” to follow Christ, as though Christ is here and there, but rather, look within yourself, and you will find him. Aren’t you created in the image of God; and didn’t Christ say, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” Then aren’t we created in the image of Christ? If so, isn’t Christ within everyone? Don’t look too much at Churches, super-star preachers, books, etc. for Christ is within.
How to do we accomplish this?
Be silent. Meditate on the Lord. Receive His Love: When we are in silence we are able to receive, or rather draw from God’s love. In silence we are able to hear God in all His intricacies. We are able to open our heart to God and pray with our heart rather than just pay “lip service.” At our job, or among friends, meditation is encouraged, not as the Church teaches, but more so yoga. The Church teaches us to be in silence and meditate on the Lord by going to the secret place—our prayer room/closet. Once we begin to meditate on the Lord, and pray earnestly with our heart, we begin to receive his love. Love in Christ is what a Christian should desire to acquire above all things. With the Love of Christ we are able to follow him. You can’t follow Christ by attending Church, singing tones/songs, doing charity/good works, reading the Bible/Holy Books, and observing traditions/rituals; these are all out workings of following the Christ within, not the primary beginning. If such is your case: it will only seem as though you are following him but really you are not, and even so, you may be deceived by demons.
Once you receive His love, that love will overcome the darkness. Darkness has a place in your life, not because darkness pushed its way in and moved aside Christ; but rather because there wasn’t enough of Christ to prevent it from entering your life. Many say “I am fighting anger, jealousy, pride, lust, pornography, sexual desires, greed!” But why fight what you cannot fight. The fact is not that you are overtaken by sin. But rather you don’t have enough of the love of Christ. The more you have His love, the less of sin you will have in your life. Don’t ask God to take away sin, ask for more of Him in your life and you will come to find out that you will have less sin in your life, and eventually bring under subjection your sinful desires, which harm your spiritual life.