The Great Invitation

“Come, Follow Me…,” Jesus Christ

Matthew 4:18-22 

18 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.  19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”  20 At once they left their nets and followed him.  21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them,  22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Jesus gives both an invitation and a promise. His authority is unequivocal. He offers an invitation but is it a firm one. He expects them to follow. They know He is One worthy following. But He is not an authoritarian; He does not compel them to come. He simply invites them. They can come for a life-transforming adventure but they can also choose to keep doing what they have been doing. This invitation, “Come follow me…” has been extended to all of us.

But what does it exactly mean to follow Jesus? Jesus offers Himself as the Leader or (Good) Shepherd who is to be followed. To follow Jesus is to emulate Him. To follow Jesus is to pattern your life after his. To follow Jesus is to believe in His Word and live by it. What have you done with that invitation: “Come follow me…?”

The great shepherd leader promises his followers what they will become or rather what he will make them become. They will be “fishers of men.” Of course Jesus uses a metaphor that is well known to those he is inviting. Did you know that Jesus speaks your native language? He even understands your heart language. So if you feel no one really understands you, talk to Jesus. If these men followed Him, theirs would be an exciting and life-transforming journey.

We know what they did.  “At once, (Simon Peter and Andrew) left their nets and followed him: (Matthew 4:20). Later on we see a similar action by James and John: “immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him” (Verse 22). What an amazing and bold response! It was a response of faith. They believed Jesus Christ. They were willing to entrust him with their lives: their livelihood and everything.

Some years later they would turn the world upside down (or is it right side up?). One day the religious establishment of that time would recognize that their lives had been transformed. When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13). From being ordinary fishermen, they had now become “fishers of men”. What a great transformation! This is what happens to anyone who says “yes” to this great invitation from the Lord Jesus Christ. The invitation still stands: “Come follow me…” Have you said yes? Are you still following?

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