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.

Matt 4:18-22 (NIV)

Leaving all, these two sets of brothers immediately heed Jesus’ call to follow. In following Christ, they readily admit to His right over their lives – willing to let go of their possessions and their own power, they yield to His. Smart move on their part! It is God’s desire for us to live our lives with open hands- not grasping tightly to any earthly treasure. I am reminded of our Lord’s Word to us later in Matthew:

37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matt 10:37-39 (NIV)

“God will be our compensation for every sacrifice we have made.” F. B. Meyer

Jesus’ offer to these brothers was to make them “ fishers of men.” The word “make” is translated from the Greek word “Poieo” meaning “to form, produce, to bring about; a completed action; to make firm, certain.” Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible – New Testament Lexical Aids. It is Jesus Who makes us fishers of men not our flesh and in our verses for today, our Lord was preparing to make disciples out of these lowly fishermen – changing their lives as well as the course of his-story. When Jesus moves His hand things happen! Nothing is too hard for Him. Jeremiah’s prayer comes to mind:

17 “Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” Jer 32:17 (NIV)

I am also reminded of the writer of Hebrews lovely benediction expressing the confidence that God through the Lord Jesus would prepare us for every good use:

20 May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Heb 13:20-21 (NIV)

“God’s fingers can touch nothing but to mold it into loveliness.” George MacDonald

This does not negate our responsibility in studying to show ourselves approved - as Scripture states – disciplined in knowing and applying God’s Truth to our lives. Yet, it is God who works in us to will and to act according to His good pleasure. It seems oxymoronic but both are true. Paul puts it this way to the Philippians – we are to work out (put into practice) what God has worked in through the Holy Spirit:

12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Phil 2:12-13 (NIV)

“I make it my priority to persevere in His holy presence, wherein I maintain a simple attention and a fond regard for God.” Brother Lawrence

Lastly, Jesus’ call to His original disciples to follow Him goes much deeper than a mere walking behind Him. This is true for every subsequent disciple as well. The call to follow was and is distinguished from simply a temporary following of Jesus by the crowds. It entails an abiding fellowship not only for the sake of learning but also for the salvation looked for. It involves a cleaving to Him in trust and obedience and acting according to His example. This was why Jesus continually stressed self-denial and fellowship with Himself in the cross. It is God’s desire that we are ever in process of being conformed to the image of His Son – that when the world looks upon Jesus’ followers, they see Jesus – not worldly flesh. We are to be controlled by the Spirit of God which dwells within each believer. Paul states in Romans:

29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Romans 8:29 (NIV)

“A special faith in our Lord Jesus Christ’s person, work and office is the life, heart and mainspring of the Christian character. He sees by faith and unseen Saviour, who loved him, gave Himself for him, paid his debts for him, bore his sins, carried his transgressions, rose again for him, and appears in heaven for him as his Advocate at the right hand of God. He sees Jesus and clings to Him...He sees his own many sins, his weak heart, a tempting world, a busy devil; and if he looked only at them, he might well despair. But he sees also a mighty Saviour, an interceding Saviour, a sympathizing Saviour—His blood...His righteousness, His everlasting priesthood—and he believes that all this is his own. He sees Jesus and casts his whole weight on Him. Seeing Him, he cheerfully fights on, with a full confidence that he will prove more than conqueror through Him that loved him...Habitual lively faith in Christ’s presence and readiness to help is the secret of the Christian fighting success fully.” J C Ryle, Holiness

What I Glean

  • In following Christ I readily admit His right over my life.
  • I am a work in process as God continually prepares my vessel to be conformed to the image of His Son through the power of the Holy Spirit – this process is finally complete when I see His face.
  • I am to be disciplined in studying God’s Word – knowing and applying God’s Truth to my life.