Discipleship 3

We are called to follow Jesus? (Vol. 1 – 3)


Matthew 4:18-22. While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.  And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.


There are two aspects of this passage that I have always really been fascinated by. One is that Jesus simply says to these men, “Follow Me,” and the other is the word “immediately” that is used twice in the men’s responses. Jesus extended an invitation, and these men accepted without hesitation. Both are fascinating to me, and might be, or should be, for you as well. In addition, by way of application I want us to consider its relevance for us.


And again what is so fascinating here is these men’s response. Each of them responded immediately to Jesus’ call to follow Him. I love that! I love that they didn’t hesitate. I love that they didn’t ask for time to think about it. They just followed. Isn’t that awesome?


At this point, early in Jesus’ ministry, they could not have known a whole lot about Jesus, and they were not educated men, but they knew enough, through the prompting of the Holy Spirit, to accept Jesus’ invitation, to obey His command. It is an extraordinary thing to see this, just like it is today to see sinners repent of their sins and choose Jesus.


This is really a picture of what it looks like to be a Christian. We see what they did, the commitment, the turning from the old life, the desire for change, a chilliness to conform to the life of another, and we think, “Wow, that is really something.” But again, this is representative of what Christianity is. It is not as though we have to leave our jobs or move away or leave our family, it is just that we are willing to follow Christ whatever the cost might be. Being a Christian is not just accepting an invitation, it is a radical change of direction and desires. We are to be followers of Jesus Christ. We are not just those who think He is the Savior, but those who are so convinced that He is, that we will invite His control over us and even desire it. You are not your own, you have been bought with a price, so glorify God in your bodies. That is, live for Jesus, in the ways He has told us to live.


Now one last thing: when Jesus called these men, He did not call them, then instruct them and send them away. He stayed with them. This is true for us. In fact, we are told in the Bible that we are to live in His strength. That means we are to rely on Him so that we can live for Him. We cannot live for Him if He does not empower us to do so. This is His grace. He gives us what we need to obey Him, to live for Him. He loves us enough to do this. He is not at arms length, but He is near.


When God says to follow Him, He does not do so for His benefit, He does not need us any more than He needed the disciples to fulfill His ministry. He does so for our benefit. So He can shower His loving-kindness on us now and forever. It is for us that He saves us. Our response should be immediate obedience. Why? Because we love Him, because we are grateful for Him, because He is God and He deserves all that we have, all that we are! He is the mighty God who is near, just as He was with the disciples.