And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
The Call to Follow
Imagine for a moment that you are fisherman (or a fisherwoman). You are out fishing one day and I walk by and call out, “Hey you out there, give up fishing and come with me.” That is the place that Simon and Peter find themselves in Matthew 4:18-22. They are fishermen and as fishermen do, they are fishing. As they do, Jesus walks along the shore and calls out to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” This call to follow is not just a call to come and hang with Jesus, it is a call to discipleship.
Jesus is not inviting them to a pleasant stroll along the seashore but inviting them to discipleship.
There are three important aspects of this call worthy of our attention. First, we must notice that it is Jesus who calls. Dietrich Bonhoeffer says, “It is Jesus who calls…Because Jesus is the Christ, he has the authority to call and to demand obedience to his word.” The call to follow is the call to follow Jesus Christ alone. No other person walking along that seashore has the authority to make the call to follow and no other person walking along that seashore would be worth following. The call to follow is a call to only follow Jesus.
All authority in the universe is his, and all creation owes its allegiance to him.
Second, the call is to follow Jesus. Obedience to this call works itself out in three actions. The first action to study the person of Jesus. To follow Jesus, we must know Jesus. The second action is to study the actions and words of Jesus. To follow Jesus, we must know what He did and taught. The third action is to act on who Jesus is and what Jesus has done in obedience. Again, Bonhoeffer says it well, “There is no road to faith or discipleship, no other road – only obedience to the call of Jesus.” Discipleship is measured by these three actions: to know Jesus (the one who calls), to know what He taught and did (to hear the call), and to obey what we have learned (to respond to the call).
Christ calls, the disciple follows: that is grace and commandment in one.
Third, Jesus shares the result of the call: “I will make you fishers of men.” The disciples drop everything and follow Jesus because they know who He is and that His call is a worthy call. If not, the disciples would have laughed off the crazy man on the seashore. And because Jesus is the Christ and His call is a worthy one, these disciples also share with Jesus in calling others to come and follow Jesus.
To be a disciple of Jesus is to make disciples of Jesus.
As we begin a New Year, my focus is to call students to follow Jesus. That is why we will be diving into Jesus this Spring semester (January-May). In Bible study we will be studying through The Gospel According to Mark and in Midweek we will be studying through 13 calls to follow Christ throughout the gospels. Why 13? Well, I would love to give you some super-spiritual reason, but honestly it is because we have 13 weeks. We will focus on one call (or command) of Jesus Christ each week. My goal as we begin this series is to not only look at the call of Jesus, but also to see how Jesus lived and embodied each call Himself. I invite you to join with me as we learn what it means to Follow Jesus.
January 9 – A Radical Call (Matthew 16:24-28)
January 16 – Radical Love (Matthew 22:34-40)
January 23 – Radical Love (Matthew 22:34-40)
January 30 – Midweek Missions
February 6 – Radical Salvation (Mark 1:14-15)
February 13 – Radical Righteousness (Matthew 5:17-48)
February 20 – Radical Priorities (Mark 10:17-31)
February 27 – Radical Faith (Luke 12:22-34)
March 6 – Radical Humility (Luke 18:9-14)
March 13 – Radical Change (Luke 6:43-45)
March 20 – Spring Break
March 27 – Radical Impact (Matthew 5:13-16)
April 3 – Radical Generosity (Luke 21:1-4)
April 10 – Radical Forgiveness (Matthew 18:21-35)
April 17 – Radical Relationships (Matthew 18:10-20)
April 24 – Radical Mission (Matthew 28:18-20)