From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
We’ve all been there. When we graduate from high school we’re asked, “What are you going to do, where might you attend college and what are you going to major in?” Where do you see yourself five or ten years from now? Picture God asking you the same life questions. “Are you going to follow me, and the plan I have for you using the gifts I’ve given you, or are you going to join the enemy camp? Where do you see yourself in the years to come, following the way of Jesus with the heart of Jesus or the way of the world?”
Peter, Andrew, James, and John made the choice to follow Jesus, immediately and sincerely. They left their lifelong family business, their father, and went with Jesus. They learned from him, grew in their faith and ministered with him. They followed, when they could see where they were going, and when they couldn’t. There were challenges. Peter confesses Jesus is the Christ, then denies him three times. He has faith to walk on water, then doubts. He preaches the good news, then goes back to fishing. The great lesson from Peter’s life is: it’s better to be a follower who fails, then be one who fails to follow.
Pastor Ryan’s Easter message brought to our attention the conflict of the two worlds: God’s plan and Satan’s plan. Our hope of life eternal is intertwined with the despair of the fallen nature. Following Jesus is mixed with life’s ups and downs, too. How do we become his disciples? By confessing our bent to go the wrong way and repenting, by changing our mind to go his way. Discipleship is a journey not a destination. Our life with him will never end, but his death on the cross ends the reign of the curse. It makes us new creatures with new hearts in his Kingdom.
Today write a simple story of your life decisions about Jesus. The Kingdom of God is at hand. He calls you to follow – you choose. What makes you resistant to follow his call? Can you identify what makes following Jesus appealing and what doesn’t? Talk to him about it; he’s listening.
By Donna Burns