THE TWO FOLLOW ME’S OF JESUS
When Jesus issued the call to follow him to those early fishermen - on what basis did they respond? Had they been looking for a new job? Were they tired of what they were doing? Had Jesus’ popularity so captivated them that they just couldn’t say no? Or was it simply a matter that they were driven by intrigue? My hunch is it was largely the latter.
In scripture, we do not read of any dramatic conversion for any one of the first twelve disciples Jesus chose to follow him. So they were not driven by some dominating emotion. When Jesus said “Follow me” in Matthew 4:18-22, they had no historical basis on which to say “yes” other than a hope that Jesus was indeed the Messiah of God. Nor did they have a theological basis. At that time, they had no biblical concept of “passing from death unto life” or of what it would take to “pick up their cross and follow Him.”
There was a deeper need they all had. It was a sense of emptiness and the realization that they were made for more. So, Peter, Andrew, James and John immediately dropped their nets and followed Jesus.
I find it interesting that Jesus did not spend endless sessions interviewing these first disciples and warning them about what they were committing to. Chances are they would have dodged the draft and run had they known. Their learning was an on-the-job type of learning. And some failure resulted. Judas betrayed Jesus. Peter denied knowing Jesus three times! And the rest of them ran and hid when Jesus needed them most. They all learned that human resolve alone would never be enough for them to bear up under the strain of following Him when all the fascination was gone.
Jesus’ invitation was not some casual call to bring a little excitement to life. This was a serious call that would require enormous effort, sacrifice and commitment. A call they would soon learn they could not fulfill on their own.
Three years after the initial call, Jesus issued a second call to Peter. The invitation was the same – “Follow me.” (John 21:19) The first call may have been shrouded with intrigue. But this one was about full-out commitment. The first call was to Jesus. The second was death to self. By now even blustery Peter realized he couldn’t do it on his own. His failures had served as a mirror into his own soul. Suddenly, the words of Jesus from that first encounter meant more to him - “Follow me, and I WILL MAKE YOU BECOME fishers of men.” Jesus had promised his help. Peter now fully knew he needed it.
Those same two “follow me’s” are also extended to us. The first to Jesus. And the second to a full death to self. (Galatians 220) Thank God for his promised help. “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13 NIV)
John Wesley offered this prayer of commitment. Let it be ours. “Lord, I am no longer my own, but Yours. Put me to what You will, rank me with whom You will. Let be employed by You or laid aside for You, exalted for You or brought low by You. Let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and heartily yield all things to Your pleasure and disposal. And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, You are mine and I am Yours. So be it. Amen.”
Be blessed my friend.
The Barnabas Group / Loads of Love