My last post about emulating Jesus has me pondering, who are we following? When Jesus called Andrew and Peter saying, “Come, follow Me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” (Matt 4:18-19) they immediately followed Jesus. When Jesus called James and John they immediately followed Him as well (4:20-22). Jesus was first calling Andrew, Peter, James and John to discipleship then to evangelism.
“Follow me” in Greek literally means come after me or come behind me. We are to come after/behind Jesus and be His disciples. I am always fascinated by the word disciple because it means more than just students learning from a teacher. The word disciple is transformational, becoming like the teacher. The learner is so devoted to their teacher that they emulate Him in every aspect of their daily life. Are we following Jesus so closely as to emulate Him in our daily lives? Or are we emulating the world and all its bitterness and hostilities?
This passage again is not a call to evangelism. All the time we hear that we need to go and fish for people. Yes, that is true, we are most certainly called and commanded to do so; however, that is not the focus of this passage. Discipleship is the focus and as Craig Blomberg states, “When Jesus calls a person to discipleship, there is no excuse for delay or disobedience.” Only as we are in a relationship with Jesus, learning from Him and His Word are we able to go and “fish for people!”
Discipleship is a LIFELONG process! Following Jesus and emulating Him is 24/7/365. There are NO days off in the Christian faith! I am NOT saying this is easy. I get it wrong A LOT. My family and friends will tell you that as well! But after each sidestep, mess up, screw-up, after each time I run ahead of Jesus, there He is calling me to come behind Him again. Jesus is doing the same for you!
The historical-cultural context to this passage humbles me. “Come, follow me” is what every Jewish male would want to hear. Very few ever heard a Rabbi say this. Some if not most students approached the Rabbi they wished to follow and asked directly if they could be his disciple. Often times the student was told “no.” Andrew, Peter, James and John were part of the uncalled and unchosen, yet they knew the meaning and significance of Jesus’s command, “come, follow Me.” These fulltime fishermen received the call they were always longing for.
For me personally, I know what it is like to not be called. I know what it is like to be the last kid picked in gym class. I know what it is like to sit on the sidelines and wonder what is wrong with me or why not me?! What amazes me about this is that Jesus called normal, average every day people to follow Him. For those who are believers, I pray that you will be humbled knowing that the Creator of the World has called and saved you for a purpose right here and now, as well as in eternity. For anyone reading this who is an unbeliever, I pray the Holy Spirit will work in your heart that you may heed His call.
Father God, I thank You for the opportunity to be Your disciple/learner/pupil. Lord, I ask that You will help this precious reader/hearer to know You more, that they may emulate You in areas where they are having difficulty. Lord God, You know this life is NOT easy. You know what each one of us is facing and will face. Help us to respond in a way that stays behind You, following You. Lord God, for the person who does not know You, I ask that You will soften their heart, I ask that You will make Yourself known to that person. Lord, send someone to speak to that person in the way they need. Lord God, I ask that You will help us to follow You and emulate You in this ever darkening world. I ask Lord, that Your people will be strengthened and that they will be prepared to follow You even when it costs them something. Father, thank You that You give life and life abundantly. Lord, I am so thankful that following You is the most adventurous and exciting journey I could ever be on. Reward this reader with the gift of Your Spirit, lead them as they follow You and may they emulate You for Your glory, in Jesus’s Name and in the power of the Holy Spirit, Amen.