Called to Follow Jesus

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One day, Jesus was walking along the shore of a lake, where he saw two burly fishermen. He watched, as Simon and Andrew stood inside their battered boat, working a big net in the water.

They were fishing—doing what they knew best and loved most. The brothers were sweaty and smelly, tired and tenacious—doing what they’d learned from their hard-working father.

Every day, they’d drop a net into the lake. After a while, they’d pull it out of the water and into their boat, hoping it’d be full of fish. All day long, they’d do it again—and again. They were determined men, intent on catching fish. It’s what they did for a living.

But Jesus was “fishing” for men who’d drop everything to follow him. He was looking for ordinary men who’d impact the world forever. Far from perfect, but pliable and teachable. Twelve men with dirty feet and broken hearts, just like you and me.

Our Savior was searching for men who’d answer his extraordinary call. Abandon what was safe and familiar. Risk sailing into uncharted waters. Commit to a cause bigger than life.

Jesus called Simon and Andrew first—and then called two more fishermen, James and his brother John. Mark 1:18 says, “At once they left their nets and followed him.”

Before long, Jesus hand-picked eight more men:  Phillip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Judas son of James and Judas Iscariot.

This band of rag-tag ruffians followed their rabbi for three years. As he taught, they listened and learned. Soared and struggled. Compromised and panicked. Resisted and ran away.

They were short on faith and patience. Long on pride. Quick to jockey for position and power. Rough around the edges. Puzzled by what they saw and heard. Confused and distracted.

But Jesus never gave up on his wayward followers. He patiently taught and explained the Scriptures. He gently encouraged and cared for them. He loved them.

That’s why Jesus pursued and stayed with his disciples, not long after he died and came back to life. That’s why he encouraged and empowered them.

Matthew 28:17-18 says, “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always …”

Jesus called and commissioned them (and us!) to go and share the good news with everyone—and to baptize and teach believers everywhere to follow and obey Jesus. They did that—and turned the world upside down.

Will you answer Jesus’ call, obey his command and share the good news today?

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