In the presence of the Son of Man, the disciples follow.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.
Follow the Actual Messiah
by Aaron Villarreal
Simon and Andrew are fishermen. James and John work for their father, Zebedee, as fishermen. They were Jewish, but likely held no position or status in their society. They didn’t have rabbinical training. They were merely fishermen, but even the fishermen knew of the promise of a Messiah.
One day, as they are fishing with their father, a man approaches them. “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” The Gospel account of Mark says they immediately left their nets and followed him. They gave up their lives and followed Jesus.
Everyone was expecting the Messiah to be this warrior king, a militaristic anarchist, who would avenge the nation of Israel’s plight and exile. This figure would bring their idea of justice and power. These men choose to follow the actual Messiah, not an idea of who they think he will be. They choose to be in his presence instead of following their own plans. He, indeed, teaches them to be fishers of men.
Most of us, if we’re honest with ourselves, have ideas of who God is or who he is supposed to be. We expect him to show power in the ways we think are impressive. In this reality, we actually expect God to follow us. We want his favor to work in our favor, to bring us success and victory in the paths we plan for ourselves.
Instead, Jesus stands at the dock looking out to us working on our boats and calls out, “Follow me.” It requires us to drop the nets in our hands that we can feel. It requires us to say goodbye to the family members we can see. It requires us to step out of the boat and to follow — to really follow — the footsteps of a man who will choose to sit with the foreigner, the prostitute, the tax collector. It calls us to have faith in the Son of Man.
Jesus is calling you to follow him. What is God calling you to do? Are you following him or do you expect him to follow you in your pursuits?
- What has following Jesus looked like in your life?
- Did it require you to give anything up?
- Jesus chose to make fishermen his disciples instead of rabbis or royalty. What does this mean for us?
- Is there a person (or people) in your life who are discipling you? If so, share a bit of what that looks like with your Missional Community.
- Are you discipling others? If so, share what that looks like with your Missional Community.
- Read Psalm 62:5-12
- Write in a journal about what it means to truly follow Christ.
- Read 1 Corinthians 7:29-31
- Are there people in your life who have displayed a desire to learn more about Christ? Ask them to get lunch or a cup of coffee and ask them to follow you as you follow Christ.
- In your journal, write out a plan for how you might make disciples. If you want to make disciples but don’t know where to start, reach out to your missional community leader or to a church staff member for more resources and thoughts.
God of the prophets, you call us away from evil to follow you. Fulfill in us your commonwealth of justice and joy, that the light of your presence may be revealed to all nations, to the glory of Jesus’ name. Amen.
In her talk, An Image of Discipleship, Jo Saxton teaches about the call to be a disciple and the call to make disciples. She is the author of many books including Real God, Real Life, in which she discusses the need for discipleship to help us navigate the waters of everyday life.