“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” –Jesus
When Jesus called his disciples, He didn’t mess around. By the leading of the Holy Spirit, Jesus openly and overtly invited men to follow Him. But what did that mean? And why did complete strangers give up lives, jobs, and family to obey Him?
Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 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.22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
The call of Christ has power! With only a few words, the Lord Jesus, carrying His mantle of salvation, spoke to the hearts of these men. They wouldn’t be following just anyone. In their hearts, and in the sound of salvation that rang silently into their hearts, simple fishermen gave up everything to follow Jesus.
They perceived the truth when He called out to them. And in that recognition, they believed Him, and followed him. As believers in Christ, we too, at the point of our adoption into Jesus’s family, perceived the truth and chose to follow Him, instead of continuing on the self-destructive force of our worldly nature destined for death.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
Jesus initiated an invitation to acknowledge the Truth and to follow Him. For these first Disciples, the invitation was bold but also optional. Jesus asks them to fo follow, tells them what following will give them, and then lets them decide. Immediately they choose Jesus.
We, too, are called boldly to follow Jesus by the Spirit of the Living God who speaks intimately into our hearts. We feel the tug of God’s love and forgiveness beckoning us, longing to have us united to Him, and we then have the choice to take it or leave it.
23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
Jesus makes it clear to us what following Him should look like. To follow Jesus is to give up your own desires and dreams to serve a greater good, one that will lead to a eternal life for yourself and the people who we invite to also follow Jesus. It is to put the lives of others before your own, to point them toward their salvation and life with Jesus.
Jesus asks us to walk in death to ourselves, taking on the shame of the natural of world, in order to show the love of Christ. And by doing so, we gain the peace of God and the salvation and life that has been prophesied for us from the beginning of time.
25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”
What does Jesus mean then, when He calls out to us, “Come and follow me!”
It means to step out in faith that what Jesus is offering in leadership is more than we could ever achieve on our own. It is an opportunity to give ourselves to Christ and trust Him to be our provision in life, for salvation, sustenance, work, and peace.
It is to receive the glorious gift of salvation in all its forms, from the only one who can provide it: Jesus.