Jesus is beginning his public ministry. He is evangelizing, preaching, teaching, healing, performing miracles, and building leaders. Knowing his fleshly ministry will be somewhat short, he focuses on training leaders through whom he will change the world. These are the special fellows with whom he will commune, train, gift, ordain, send forth, empower, and govern.
However, notice the extreme given by Jesus. As he calls these men into his inner circle of discipleship, they are immediately leave all. The status quo has got to go. And all the fellows selected by Jesus are up to the task. For example, the Apostle John tells of the first two disciples to radically attach themselves to the Messiah:
“… John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’ The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.” (John 1:35-37)
Here are to disciples of the greatest man ever to live. They are students and coworkers of John the Baptist — the most exciting prophet to come Israel’s way in hundreds of years. However, somewhat easily, they say “Farewell” to John the Baptist and take off following after Jesus.
Saint Matthew shows how Andrew and Simon immediately leave their fishing business:
“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. And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him.” (Matthew 4:18-20)
The same is true with James and John:
“… 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.” (Matthew 4:21-22; Mark 1:14-20)
They leave their fishing business, their nets, and their boats. James and John even leave their father, while he is still in the boat. Immediately the joined the “Jesus Movement.”
Luke summarizes the response of all the disciples:
“… They left everything and followed him.” (Luke 5:11)
Sons left fathers. Business men left businesses. Ministers left ministries. Evangelists left evangelistic crusades. Zealots left revolutions. Tax collectors left their tables, and fishermen left fish. They all made immediate, radical decisions to say “Yes” to Jesus and leave the status quo.
So what about you and me?
We often think of such passages in regard to salvation. This is not wrong, for it is true that one needs to completely abandon all to follow Jesus. Immediately we are to do so, and it is always the best decision we will ever make. No regret will follow such a radical upsetting of the apple cart.
We also think of such passages in regard to Christian ordination. There are times when God calls an individual from one line of work to another. Sometimes the Lord changes the mission field for a man. He is faithfully serving the Father in the corporate setting, and then he is slowly and surely called to serve differently in the church. When the Spirit interacts with the heart and head of such a person, that person is to act decisively. “Yes Lord,” is the right answer to the Spirit’s call.
However, in this devotional blog, I would like us to focus all of us on today. Today, wherever we are, Christ calls us afresh to be “fishers of men.” He is summoning all of us to be engaged in making disciples. regardless of whether we work behind a plow, steering wheel, desk, counter, school desk, changing table, or pulpit. Today, we are all being called to be his ministers and missionaries. Today, we are all being called again to be salt and light for his Kingdom. Can you hear him? Jesus is calling us to leave, follow, commune, obey, glorify, enjoy him, and expand his name and fame.
So, what will we do? How will we answer?
Today, as we read or hear his Word, will we listen and obey immediately?
Today, as we pray without ceasing, will we immediately respond to the wisdom he sends our way?
Today, as we labor on, will we look for opportunities to be salt and light? Will we shine and season well?
Today, as we are tempted to sin; as we are tempted to listen to the vile voices of the world, flesh, and devil, will we hear the voice of Jesus saying “Follow me,” and will we immediately say “Shut up!” to contrary inclinations?
Today, as we are tempted to put ourselves first, will we focus primarily on Jesus, secondarily on our neighbors, and die to self?
Just today, for one day, for twenty-four hours, can we ask the Spirit for radical love? Can we ask and seek to glorify and enjoy Jesus immediately. Today, let us say “Goodbye” to our usual and normal comfort zones. Jesus is nearby. He is calling. He is leading and guiding. And today, the status quo has got to go!