Follow The Leader

“Come, follow me” (Matthew 4:19)

Thirteen times in the gospels Jesus said, “Come, follow me.”  He used these three simple words to call Peter, Andrew, James, and John.  I want to focus on the calling of Peter and his brother Andrew.  The account of their calling reads this way: “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew.  They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.  ‘Come follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’  At once they left their nets and followed him.” (Matthew 4:18-20).  Has that account of their calling ever made you stop and scratch your head in wonder?  Wonder as to why two men working hard to make a living would simply drop their nets, leave their trade, and follow a stranger. 

To answer that question, we need to know the complete story.  And for us to know the complete story, we need to put the gospel accounts of the calling of the disciples in chronological order.  The gospel of John helps us to do that.  You see, Peter and Andrew were originally disciples of John the Baptist.  One day John and two of his disciples saw Jesus passing by them.  When John saw Christ he proclaimed, “Look, the Lamb of God.”  The two disciples who were with John then followed Jesus to where he was staying.  One of those disciples was Andrew.  Later Andrew shared with his brother Peter his encounter with Christ and took Peter to meet Jesus.  That was the first encounter Peter and Andrew had with the Messiah.  But then there was a later time when Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee and seeing the two brothers working, called them to follow him.  So, you see, Andrew and Peter you could say followed Christ twice.  The first time out of curiosity.  The second time to make a commitment to become his disciples.  It was that second calling that changed their lives forever.

Now, there’s a lesson for each of us in the story of Andrew and Peter following Christ twice.  The lesson is this: a follower of Jesus Christ does not say “yes” to him once but again and again.  We can’t live our lives on yesterday’s obedience to Jesus.  We must give him our “yes” daily.  Each new day brings into our lives new opportunities to obey the calling of God.  New opportunities to deny ourselves.  New opportunities to refresh our commitment to Christ.  Don’t pat yourself on the back because you obeyed Christ yesterday, or last week.  The question each of us is faced with is this – are we going to obey him today?