Summary: Three things needed to follow Jesus
August 18, 2013
“As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
“As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
Three military recruiters accepted an invitation to talk to the seniors of a local high school. The principal wanted his 200 young men to hear of the opportunities in the military. The meeting was to be 45 minutes long. Each recruiter had 15 minutes to speak and then another 20 minutes in the cafeteria to meet with interested boys. The Army recruiter went first and got so excited that he went 20 minutes over. The Navy recruiter stood up and also spoke for 20 minutes.
The Marine Corps recruiter, realizing that his 15-minute speech had been cut to two minutes, walked up to the podium. He spent the first 60 seconds in silence, looking over the group of high school seniors. After what seemed to be an eternity, he said, "I doubt there are two or three of you here who could make it as marines. I want to see those three men as soon as we're dismissed." He then turned and sat down. Predictably, he was mobbed by the young men when he arrived in the cafeteria. The Marines motto was "We are looking for a few good men." So was Jesus.
I can imagine Jesus walking the dusty streets and the sandy beach after be all night in prayer – looking for a few good men who would be willing to follow Him. And He found them. They dropped everything, got up, and followed Him.
It is astonishing to me that grown men would drop everything to follow someone. There was no money involved. Sometimes if a person offers you enough money you might drop what you were doing and follow that person. It would have to be so much that it would be an offer you couldn’t refuse.
I guess you ladies do something like this when your sweetheart asks you to marry them. Julie left her teaching job in a public school when she became my wife. She has been following me for over 40 years now. There was no money involved but there was love. Love is a good motive – but these men hadn’t learned to love Jesus yet. They barely knew Him.
We are talking about grown men here. We are talking about men with careers. We are talking about men with families. What would possess them to immediately leave their jobs and leave their families to follow Jesus?
I think there were three things that compelled them to drop everything to follow. First of all, they believed in Him. There was something about Jesus that instilled a belief in Him. It may have been the way He looked; it may have been the way He talked; it may have been the way He made them feel. It may have had something to do with the miracles He did, too.
I think Jesus may have known some of the disciples prior to enlisting them. Some may have seen or heard of Him performing a miracle. But some didn’t seem to have any prior knowledge of Him. They were just convinced to believe.
Later in Jesus’ ministry the disciples clearly believed. Listen to this conversation between Jesus and His disciples.
“When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
When we are invited to follow Christ we are faced with a choice – to believe or not believe. Belief is a choice. Some people look at the world and choose to believe there is no God. They are atheists. The Bible calls them fools – because the evidence is there. It is clearly seen. (Romans 1:19-20) But they choose not to believe. Some people look at the world and choose to believe that it evolved. Personally, it wouldn’t hurt my faith if God choose to build the world that way – but I look at the evidence and it confirms the Word of God – that we were created and that our world is not billions of years old but relatively young.