Via ASSIST News Service

Claremore, Oklahoma, United States

 

“As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’ At once they left their nets and followed Him” - Matthew 4:18-20(NIV).

Our Sunday school class is currently studying the Gospel of Matthew. Recently, we read the passages about the calling of His first disciples to follow Him. We began to wonder why these working-class men would drop their fishing nets, walk away from their livelihood, their families and friends to follow someone they barely knew.

PICTURE: © Gölin Doorneweerd - Swijnenburg/www.freeimages.com

 

As we discussed the passages, I read my Bible commentary which explained Jesus had encountered Peter and Andrew before in the Jordan region, where Andrew (and perhaps Peter as well) had become a disciple of John the Baptist.

The commentary also explained that the two brothers had left John to follow Jesus for a time before returning to their fishing in Capernaum. Fishing wasn’t a hobby for these men. It is how they supported themselves and their families. Now, Jesus has shown up at the Sea of Galilee where He calls them to follow Him in long-term discipleship.

What would you do if Jesus showed up at your workplace or on your doorstep and asked you to drop everything to follow Him? Would you make excuses or would you follow?

“But Jesus, what about my family? Who is going to take care of them?”

“You’re kidding, right Jesus? You know I have other things I must attend to. I’m needed to lead the choir at church.” Or “I can’t Jesus. What would my friends and family say? They’ll think I’ve lost my mind.”

“Not me, Jesus. I’m not the right one. I have nothing to offer. Look at me - I’m old.” Or “I’m too young.”

The disciples didn’t offer excuses. Instead, Scripture says they left their nets and other occupations and followed Jesus. Later in Matthew 16:24, Jesus says to His disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

Many people interpret “cross” as a burden they must carry - a physical illness, a tense relationship, a demanding job or some other unpleasant situation. Instead, Jesus was asking them if they were willing to die in order to follow Him. Called a “dying to self,” it’s a call to absolute surrender.

What would it look like if every Christian who professed love for Christ surrendered completely to Him? Read and reflect on the final stanza of this poem by United Methodist clergy Beth A Richardson. Then, ask yourself what you would say if Jesus showed up today and said, “Follow me.”

“Walk with me in the countryside, in the inner city.

Walk with me in places of joy and places of sorrow.

Leave your preconceived notions, your five-year strategies.

Set down your anger and your prejudices,

And see the world as I see it.

It doesn’t matter where we are going,

Just follow me."