Come, Follow Me!

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 make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. (Matthew 4:18-22)

Leaving all, these two sets of brothers immediately heed Jesus’ call to follow Him. In following Christ, they are agreeing to His right over their lives.

“I make it my priority to persevere in His holy presence, wherein I maintain a simple attention and a fond regard for God.” -Brother Lawrence
Willing to let go of their possessions and their own aspirations, they yield to His. Smart move on their part! It is God’s desire for us to live our lives with open hands–not grasping tightly to any earthly treasure or endeavor. I am reminded of our Lord’s words to us later in Matthew:

“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:37-39)

Jesus’ offer to these brothers is to make them“fishers of men.”The word “make” is translated from the Greek word poieo meaning “to form, produce, to bring about; a completed action; to make firm, certain” (Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible–New Testament Lexical Aids). It is Jesus who makes us fishers of men, not our own ability or creativity, and in our verses for today, He is preparing to make disciples out of these lowly fishermen–changing their lives as well as the course of history! When Jesus moves calls, things happen! Nothing is too hard for Him. Jeremiah’s prayer comes to mind:

“Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” (Jeremiah 32:17)

I am also reminded of the writer of Hebrews lovely benediction expressing the confidence that God through the Lord Jesus will prepare us for every good use:

May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21)

This does not negate our responsibility in studying to show ourselves approved in knowing and applying God’s truth to our lives. Yet, it is God who works in us to accomplish His purposes. Paul puts it this way to the Philippians:

“A special faith in our Lord Jesus Christ’s person, work and office is the life, heart and mainspring of the Christian character. He sees by faith and unseen Saviour, who loved him, gave Himself for him, paid his debts for him, bore his sins, carried his transgressions, rose again for him, and appears in heaven for him as his Advocate at the right hand of God. He sees Jesus and clings to Him … He sees his own many sins, his weak heart, a tempting world, a busy devil; and if he looked only at them, he might well despair. But he sees also a mighty Saviour, an interceding Saviour, a sympathizing Saviour–His blood … His righteousness, His everlasting priesthood–and he believes that all this is his own. He sees Jesus and casts his whole weight on Him. Seeing Him, he cheerfully fights on, with a full confidence that he will prove more than conqueror through Him that loved him.” -J C Ryle

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyednot only in my presence, but now much more in my absencecontinue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. (Philippians 2:12-13)

Jesus’ call to His original disciples to follow Him goes much deeper than a mere walking with Him. This is true for every disciple! The call to follow is not a temporary following. It entails an abiding fellowship not only for the sake of learning but of doing His bidding. It involves a cleaving to Him in trust and obedience and acting according to His example. This was why Jesus continually stressed self-denial and fellowship with Himself. It is God’s desire that we are ever in process of being conformed to the image of His Son. His desire is that when the world looks upon Jesus’ followers, they see Jesus. We are to be controlled by the Spirit of God which dwells within each believer.

Take It to Heart

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29)

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