Jesus is not content with a person praying a prayer one time. Jesus wants us to Follow Him. At the core of love is a Savior who wants to be in relationship with us and to have us be with him, always. While no one ever said this would be easy or painless, it will always be worth the cost. No one understood this more than the first disciples. At the outset of Jesus’ ministry he began by calling people who would follow Him. The invitation of Jesus to the disciples was to leave everything behind and follow Christ into the unknown. Being fishermen, laying down their nets was more than a ceasing of what they were doing that day. Jesus was asking them to prioritize between their personal security and their inward groaning for something bigger than themselves.
While walking by the Sea of Galilee, [Jesus] saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. – Matthew 4:18-22 (ESV)
As the disciples laid down their nets, they laid down their daily life and their source of provision trusting that, somehow, Jesus would provide for them. Their man made security of finances and prosperity would need to die at the feet of Jesus. And there, two of the first disciples, made their choice to follow a Savior instead of relying on their own personality security. They chose their eternal security at the expense of their flimsy fleshly security to follow the Messiah they had been awaiting.
Jesus wants us to follow Him through every daily aspect of our lives, not just one mere day. But following Jesus will cost of everything. As we invite the Messiah to enter into the most private parts of our life, we should expect that things would be transformed. A faith that costs nothing is no faith at all but rather an insurance policy. Dietrich Bonhoeffer refers to this type of grace that costs nothing of the person receiving it “cheap grace” in his work The Cost of Discipleship. It is the point where we ask Jesus to enter into our lives but resist any and all efforts to be made more like Him. Where Christ should be permeating into all facets of our life, we remain unchanged when the reward of having faith in Christ is everlasting life. As we Follow the Messiah, into the unknown, we exchange our earthly security for a divine eternity.
But with the Gospel, this is not a story of loss, but a story of redemption of coming alive. While the disciples were called to follow Christ and abandon their security, the promise was to make them fishers of men. Jesus had no intention of merely trying to take everything from the fishermen that day. To the contrary, Jesus wanted to set them up to reach new heights that they would never achieve without the Messiah. The nations would be reeled in for the Glory of God, not simply fish for the glory of food.
While it may be scary to leave behind the safety and security, when we put our trust and hope in Jesus Christ, we can move knowing that His plan for us greatly exceeds our own. We are able to live beyond ourselves and know that we are a part of a Spiritual family, united in Jesus Christ, sent from The Father, empowered by the Holy Spirit.
So, wherever you are in your journey, you have the choice right now to Follow. You probably don’t have all of the answers or the security of knowing what the future will bring, but you have a Savior who is so enthralled with love for you that His desire is for you to follow and to be with Him. Our Savior wants to know you and be known by you and to have that deep relationship that comes from unity with one another. It is offered to all. Will you Follow?
Question for Thought What was a time that you “laid down your net” to follow the Messiah? Feel free to comment your thoughts below or email at firstname.lastname@example.org