With our 2021 church theme being “Come, Follow Me“, the story of Jesus calling His first disciples in Matthew 4:18-22 is probably familiar to most, if not all, of us by now. Whenever I read this passage, the immediate response of the disciples always leaves me both in awe, but also slightly uncomfortable or convicted. It’s important to understand objectively see how Scripture can make us feel for the purpose of being able to bring all our thoughts & emotions humbly before the Lord. Being honest in this regard is better than pretending to be obedient–it allows us to ask God to help us understand or even submit even when we dislike something. This is why two of our Discover Bible Study Questions include what we like and don’t like about a passage.
I personally find myself in awe of both the simple fact that Jesus even invited Peter and Andrew, as well the authority and power He had in giving it and having such an immediate response. I’m so thankful that Jesus, Son of God, offers us this ability to be His friend & disciple. That my salvation and hope rests solely in what He has done leaves me humbled and in gratitude. And seeing the response of the first disciples to drop everything immediately reminds me of the awesomeness of Who God is.
But in all honesty, it makes me a bit uncomfortable sometimes when I place myself in the story as one of those disciples. Jesus’ call is beautiful because it invited them to draw close to His side, something we could never do without His loving & gracious extension to us. However, it’s one that called His disciples to leave behind all that they found comfort in–family, profession, home, stability. Reading this passage reminds me that I’m not going to remain in humanly comfort as I follow Jesus.
When we look at the lives of the disciples as they followed Jesus, they were often being challenged with new things, whether it was Jesus’ teachings or doing things as they were instructed. Even after Jesus rose from the grave, they were then challenged to share the Gospel and make disciples. They left behind their old lives, left their nets and the things they knew behind, and followed after a Messiah who led them into a new life, different than anything I’m sure they could’ve imagined.
Throughout my faith journey with Christ, I’ve found myself in multiple situations where God has led me out of my own comfort zones in order to follow Him faithfully. More recently, as a person who naturally enjoys time alone, and easily finds herself nervous and awkward in new social settings, having the stay at home order this past year and a half wasn’t too terrible in some senses. But now that the pandemic situation has improved (praise God!) and things are opening up, I am feeling God calling me to again follow Him and leave behind my net of comfortability at home. I can tell He’s asking me in my personal life (beyond church ministry) to step out and make disciples by being a light in the world. I feel the Holy Spirit moving me to be bold again, and to make new friends, and honestly it makes me feel a little scared, and a little uncomfortable. So naturally, I don’t like it. But I know that in following Jesus, He is with me, and that it will all be worth it for His glory and for my own good. I’ve never once regretted leaving behind my own nets, and following after Him.
Following Jesus often calls us to leave our “nets” behind. Sometimes it can seem more clear, like sin that is blatantly spelled out in the Bible, like lying or murder, idol worship, or adulatory. Sometimes it’s more seemingly “subtle” like remaining comfortable or even complacent in your faith. Sometimes it’s also leaving behind a lies like “I’m not in ministry, so I don’t need to… x, y, or z” or “I don’t have to do ____ because other people do it better”. So my main question for you all today is:
What “fishing net(s)” is God calling you to leave behind?
This week, spend time re-reading Matthew 4:18-22. I hope the following questions help you continue to process and dig deeper in your relationship with God. May the Holy Spirit guide and lead you in your time with the Lord this week.
- What things from this passage did you like, or not like? Take time to praise God for the things you liked from the passage, and lift up the things you didn’t like, too. Ask God for His wisdom and for help in understanding it or accepting it.
- Make time to also pray and ask God what things He’s calling you to leave behind in order to follow Him faithfully. Sometimes leaving things behind, is difficult, and your instinct can truthfully be to not want to or to not like the change. Be honest and bring that before God. Ask the Holy Spirit to bring you to a place of obedience and ask Him for help.
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.Philippians 3:7-8
Hungry for more?
We encourage you to feast on the word of God. If you’ve got some resources on your bookshelf, dig in! If you’re looking for more translations, resources, and devotional guides, try any of the following links or search for more online.
Create an atmosphere to encounter God
During this historical time, we’ve been collecting songs along the way. You can find the playlists on SGPC’s Spotify profile (requires a free Spotify account). Listen to old favorites and discover new songs of the season! Spring off into some of the suggestions generated by Spotify or search for your own go-to songs. These also work well as background music for studying scripture (or anything else).