I have begun rereading the New Testament this year. There is something that has struck me in my readings so far.
Look at Matthew 4:18-22:
“One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers- Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew- throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, ‘Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!’ And they left their nets at once and followed him.
A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too. They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind.”
I truly find it very interesting that Peter, Andrew, James and John immediately followed Jesus. There was no questioning, well, at least not in the text we have here in the Bible. The men just left everything behind and followed Jesus.
I am not a man so I cannot think like a man. However, as a woman, there are thoughts swirling around in my head. I don’t know about you, but I would have been first questioning ‘Who is this man that wants me to follow him?’ I have heard a little bit about him, but does he really think I would leave my livelihood and follow him? I don’t know who he is. I don’t know where he is from.
I wonder if they already knew each other before this encounter. We don’t know, we just get a glimpse of Jesus going up to the boats chatting to the gentlemen and then asking them to follow him.
And what about the line, ‘Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!’? Would they have a clue what he was on about? Why would they leave their profession of fishing to make money to give their families food to eat, etc.?
I guess Jesus had to explain it to them. I definitely would have wanted to understand more before I just up and left everything behind.
Then Matthew gets called…
Matthew 9:9- “As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. ‘Follow me and be my disciple,’ Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed Jesus.”
The same scenario, yet a different profession. Another man who just leaves everything he knows to follow Jesus. He doesn’t question. He doesn’t fuss. He just leaves collecting taxes for the Roman government to follow Jesus.
A teacher of religious law asks can he follow Jesus.
Jesus explains to him what it means to truly follow him…
See Matthew 8:18-22:
“When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he instructed his disciples to cross to the other side of the lake. Then one of the teachers of religious law said to him, ‘Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.’
But Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.’
Another of his disciples said, ‘Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.’
But Jesus told him, ‘Follow me now. Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead.’”
Jesus told these men that if they were to follow him, they would have no place to really call home. Foxes have a place to live in a den and birds have nests to rest in at night. However, Jesus did not have a place that he could really call home.
Jesus seems to be off-putting when he says not to worry about burying his father. The spiritually dead do not know Jesus and his grace. They die to eternal damnation without the salvation of Jesus Christ.
There is no word in the Bible if these men ended up following Jesus. He knew their hearts. He knew what mattered most to them. For the religious leader, it mattered to have a home, a place to call his own. He didn’t want to give up familiarity. The other gentleman didn’t want to let go of family. He wanted to take care of the details of his family first. Who wouldn’t, right?
The disciples must have known they would have no place to stay. They must have seen something in Jesus that attracted them to follow him.
As a younger person, I would have struggled to leave everything behind. I wanted to enjoy life my way. The last thing I wanted to do is to follow Jesus. The world today is very much the same. People are searching for answers, however, they don’t want to leave the comforts of their current life behind.
I don’t want to hold on to anything that will hinder me from following Jesus. I want to be willing to drop everything, like Peter, Andrew, James, John and Matthew. I don’t’ want to hold on to the pleasures of this world like the rabbi/teacher of the law.
What about you? Are you still holding on to the things of this world? Are you afraid to let go and follow Jesus, no matter the cost? If not, please seek him to help you to let go.
What is Jesus calling you to let go of in your life so you can follow him? Choose today to let it go, and let God be Lord of your life.