Following Jesus

Matthew 4:12-23
Immediately they left their nets and followed Jesus - Matthew 4:20

Jesus calls people to follow him. I am always amazed that the first people he called “left everything.” I put myself in their sandals and say, “I can’t follow Jesus today, because (fill in the blank). Peter and James may not have had (blank), but they had fish to be taken to market, nets to be mended, elderly parents, households to take care of, etc.

John the Baptist had just been arrested when Jesus calls his disciples (Matthew 4:12-23). Following Jesus is kind of like joining the protests in Hong Kong after demonstrators have been tear-gassed, rubber bulleted, and thrown in jail. The dangers of being a disciple are well known. And yet they came.

The first disciples are not just these twelve men that are named in Matthew 10:2-4. We hear of the 72 who go out 2 by 2 into far flung villages and share the good news (Luke 10:1).  We hear of the women who followed Jesus, even to the cross and his grave on Easter morning. The real question is not who was a disciple of Jesus back then, but will you be a disciple today? I think everyone can be a disciple.

What does it take?

  1. Become a part of a small group working together to know Jesus. Think the Hobbit. Think of the tightest team you’ve ever been a part of — I ran cross-country and had a very close relationship with the guys on my high school team the year before I became a Christian. If you follow Jesus, he will call you to be a part of a small group.
  2. Get some skin in the game. Jesus didn’t ask people to give money to a mission project. He asked people to follow him and do as he did as he met the needs of people. 
  3. Intentionally pick up your cross. Lent is coming. Will you follow Jesus more intentionally this year, even if it puts some of what you value now at risk? 

Everyone can be a disciple. Not everyone will. 

Jesus calls a diverse group to be his disciples (everybody)
Epiphany 3