Can you imagine with me, for just a moment, what it would have been like to encounter Jesus in the manner these first disciples did?
Matthew 4:18-22; 9:9
We are given no indication that there was any hesitation or trepidation on their part. It only says that Simon, Andrew, James and John just left their nets and followed Jesus. Later, we see Matthew leave everything behind to obey the call of Jesus. Surely there was a moment when one said, or at least thought, “is this really a good move ?” But they seemingly responded with immediate faith that He was who He said He was. This was not just a simple invitation to dinner, it was a call to completely upend their lives. Everything would drastically change from this moment on.
The call to follow Jesus is more than a mere invitation for a casual, leisurely stroll to the city limits of your life. He has called you to go beyond the familiar surroundings of your daily existence, beyond the comfort of your daily routine, beyond the place of reassurance from friends and family. He wants you to go beyond the city limits of your comfort zone, on past the limits of your doubts and fears, beyond the limits of your own abilities and knowledge, even beyond the limits of your wants and desires.
To accept such a call would require a level of faith that few, I fear, possess. It is a call that will only be heard by those who are willing to listen, accepted only by those who are willing to obey, fulfilled only by those who are willing to remain faithful.
This is a call to go with Him wherever He leads you. Sometimes to healing places, sometimes to stormy places, sometimes to miracle places, sometimes to deadly places. Following Jesus won’t always be smooth, but it will always be safe. Obviously, following Jesus is not for the faint of heart.
The call of Jesus to “follow me” is not so much about geography, as it is about obedience and faithfulness. The where, and even the what and how, is not nearly as important as the “yes Lord”.
We love the idea of being led beside still waters and in paths of righteousness, but abhor the thought of stumbling up the rough, rocky road to Calvary. We love the thought of being a child of God, but struggle with the requirement of being born again.
The great contradiction and struggle of the Gospel, is that to live, you must die; to reign, you must serve; to possess, you must give away. Jesus never once promised that life with Him would be easy, however, He did promise that He would “never leave you or forsake you.”
This whole idea of following Jesus is called discipleship, and is initiated by faith and maintained by continual obedience.
This journey beyond your city limits will take you far from where you are right now. But it is necessary and inevitable for every believer whose heart is turned toward God. This call to relentless discipleship is inescapable if you accept the call to follow Jesus.
If called, will you accept?