This fall as we enter a new season, let me ask, what does following Jesus look like for you right now? What is a life of following Jesus all about? Surely there’s more to following Jesus than dos and don’ts.
Come and See
Let’s take a journey back to the time of Jesus and see how he found his first disciples. Jesus didn’t cruise around Galilee offering high salaries and signing bonuses to recruit his disciples. His strategy was in fact rather simple “Come and see.” When Jesus called his first disciples he clearly caught their attention. He saw Peter and Andrew fishing and said “follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matt 4:19). He said something similar to James and John. In Mark 2:14 Jesus passes by a tax booth and tells a man named Levi “Follow me.”
He didn’t entice them with clever marketing. Simply calling them to follow him and see what he was about was enough to pique their interest. Luke 5:1-11 expands on the story of the calling of the first 4 fishermen.
Jesus went fishing with them and instructed them to put out the nets. Simon Peter informed Jesus that they had fished all night and had caught nothing. These are professional fishermen. They knew what they were doing and knew the fishing wasn’t good. Yet they listened to Jesus and let down the nets. As they pulled the nets up they were full of fish. Simon Peter was astonished and recognized that this was not a normal fishing trip. After this Jesus told them not to be afraid and that from now on they would be catching men. How’s that for a promotional campaign?
We also have stories of Jesus calling disciples in John 1:35-51. Again, he follows his standard pattern “come and see” and “Follow me.” The disciples clearly saw something in Jesus and his mission that was more motivating than money, success or power. They were so interested that they started telling their friends and family that they had found the Messiah. What phrase did they use? “Come and see.” (John 1:46)
There was something attractive about the way Jesus lived and talked. What Jesus promised the disciples was not an easy life, but a life filled with adventure, purpose, meaning and fulfillment. What would you do if Wayne Gretzky offered to show you a few tricks for being a good hockey player? If you have any interest in hockey you’d be crazy not to take him up on the offer! Think about if the author of the universe himself offered you a chance to follow him around. Would you take him up on it? Jesus followed up “come and see” with “Come and follow me” as he challenged them to the next level of commitment.
Sometimes today we focus a lot on reading the right books or listening to the right podcasts – the self-help market is busier than ever. Jesus did things differently. He didn’t offer 10 easy steps to living your best life. Jesus showed the disciples how to live by living with them. “Jesus did not only communicate ideas and concepts and rules and principles for living. He lived. And by living with his disciples, he showed them what life was supposed to look like, what God had intended it to look like. It was not merely intellectual or merely spiritual. It was all these things together; it was something more.”
For an example let’s look to what Jesus did as he was choosing the 12 disciples. Luke 6:12,13 “In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came he called his disciples and chose from among them twelve, whom he named apostles.” Jesus led up to a crucial decision with a full night of prayer. Later, the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. “Now Jesus[a] was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”” (Luke 11:1)
The teaching Jesus gives is what we now know as The Lord’s Prayer. The disciples wanted to know how to pray like Jesus because they saw him praying. Jesus demonstrated the importance of a lifestyle of prayer and then taught the disciples how to pray when they grew curious enough to ask. Jesus didn’t make things up but was himself was led by the God the Father “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.” (John 5:19). Even as Jesus was led by the Father in all he did, so he taught his disciples the same concept. They were to be led by Jesus in all they did. The call from Jesus is “follow me.” If Jesus said follow me, then to be his disciples we simply must follow him.
Who’s With Me?
Today we have many people who will sell us a map to living our best lives. But we have fewer who will live with us like Jesus did with the disciples. Jesus invested himself in a group of disciples, spending time with them, mentoring and training them, but also enjoying their friendship and fellowship. For us then, we need to spend time with other believers, praying, encouraging and most importantly living life together. We need to invest in others around us. Mentoring, training, teaching and encouraging. No one is meant to do life alone. We need Jesus and we need each other.
Conclusion and Application
- The life of a disciple is framed by the call of Jesus. Jesus says: come and see and come follow me
- Sometimes we make it more complicated than it needs to be by adding a bunch of steps and plans and formulas. At the core it’s all about following Jesus.
- This fall, what does following Jesus look like for you?
- As you follow Jesus, what do you need to help you along the path?
- Consider reaching out and asking someone to journey with you. Consider joining a lifegroup or finding a mentor. Or maybe you can reach out and mentor someone else.
- Who can you do life with as you journey forward in following Jesus?
- So this fall, come and see, come follow Jesus and find others who will walk with you
 Matt 4:18-22, Mark 1:16-20; 2:14, Luke 5:1-11; 27-32 John 1:35-51
 Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, pg 129-130