Simon Peter. Andrew. James. John. Philip. Bartholomew. Thomas. Matthew. James. Thaddeus. Simon. Matthias. 12 ordinary men who gave up their lives; their homes; their everyday-normal at another man’s call to ‘come follow me’. 12 boring, normal, not-extra-special, sinful men who were called to be the closest earthly friends of the extraordinary Jesus Christ.
What I love about the calling of all of Jesus’ disciples it that Jesus barely bats an eyelid at how ‘normal’ they are. He called Levi (Matthew)- a tax collector; the lowest of the low. He called Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John- fishermen; people who caught fish and cleaned nets for a living. None of the 12 He called were particularly special. None of them were rich or famous. None of them were royalty or nobility- the kinds of people you’d expect a King to spend his time with. No, instead, Jesus called tax collectors and fishermen and sinners.
And you know what’s awesome?! He calls us too!
Like we talked about in part 1 of this post, we live in an age full of this ‘following culture’- a culture where we are surrounded by people to follow; people who inevitably influence us in some way or another. It’s practically impossible to avoid the pull of the ‘follow’ button, and before we know it, we’ve added another influencer to our list of people who influence us through what they say, do, post, write and wear.
And even though it’s not always bad to be influenced by other people, it can become bad when we begin to get led in the wrong direction… away from Jesus; away from the cross.
So whilst it’s okay to follow other people, we need to make sure we’re following Jesus first and foremost. It can be tough, but every single day we need to choose Jesus… we need to reject other people and follow Jesus before we even think about following anyone else.
In order to put Jesus first, we need to be wise and discerning. Set boundaries and limitations. If you feel someone is leading you away from Jesus, unfollow! It’s really that simple. Just hit the unfollow button, and don’t look back. If you find it difficult to get in the Word before you check Instagram or even your WordPress reader, then set boundaries. Don’t go on your phone/laptop before, say, 9 am. Only check your WordPress reader 5 days out of 7. No Instagram on Sundays. It’s precautionary measures like these that help us stay on track to following Jesus, not other people.
The truth is, it breaks Jesus’ heart when we follow other people before we follow Him.
The was a time in my life a few years ago where I thought I had to ‘have it all together’ before I could be a Christian. I thought that until I could ‘be less sinful’, I didn’t have to read my Bible or pay attention in Church. I thought I had to better; more disciplined, before I could get baptised. But, friends, this is NOT the case! Jesus calls us to follow Him right here, right NOW! He doesn’t want us to waste a second… it doesn’t matter how sinful we are or how messy our lives are. We do NOT have to clean ourselves up before we turn to the Father, he wants us just as we are!
That is the kind of love that Jesus has for us, shown in Romans 5:8- ‘But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’
WHILST WE WERE STILL SINNERS, He loved us. He loves us. And he calls us, just like that, to follow Him.
Just as Jesus called to these men ‘come follow me’, He calls to us too. And just as Jesus didn’t care that these men were poor and sinful, He doesn’t care that we are. When we respond to His call of ‘come follow me’, He takes what little we have and rejoices.