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The Call to Follow Jesus

Mark 1.16-20
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.
I would like for you to do an exercise with me today. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in the job that maybe you have had for some time now. If you’re retired, then imagine it’s something that you do most every day. Are you able to picture yourself doing what you normally do in your mind right now? What does it feel like? Does it bring up feelings of frustration or joy? Perhaps it gives you purpose or maybe a longing for more? I wonder if the feelings you are experiencing today were some of the feelings Andrew and his brother Simon were feeling on that eventful day when they met Jesus.

Here they were just minding their own business, tending to their nets, and trying to catch some fish for their livelihood. Out of nowhere Jesus walks up to them and says, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” These are some of the most powerful words that they could have expected to hear on that fateful day. Why would a Rabbi seek them, two lowly fisherman who were uneducated and seemingly unimportant, for religious purposes? Yet Jesus calls them to come follow Him. The idea that Jesus would call these two men to drop their nets and come follow after Him was not necessarily a foreign concept. In fact within the Old Testament prophetic tradition, God Himself is seen as the fisher of men.

For Jesus to ask Andrew and Simon to come follow Him so that He could make them fishers of men was a signal to both of these men that perhaps the Messiah had arrived, hence why Andrew and Simon were quick to throw down their nets and follow after Jesus. Jesus had met them in the middle of their normal life doing their normal job. The vision that Jesus gave them called them into a greater vision than they ever would have dreamed or imagined for themselves. This vision was so compelling that it caused them to leave everything and follow after Jesus.

So what about you? Has your encounter with Jesus caused you to leave everything and go follow Christ? I remember when I was a teenager I had an encounter with Jesus that caused me to say, “Christ, whatever and wherever, I will go for you.” That was 20 years ago now; it’s hard to believe where I would be if I had not said that to Jesus, and Jesus took me at my word. I truly believe God desires for all of us to come follow Him so that He can make fishers of men out of us as well. As believers in Christ we have been called to this; no one is exempt from that. No matter your age, you are never too old or too young to follow Christ. I pray that this will stir you today to begin to say, “Jesus, I will follow you.”

In Christ’s Service,
Cody Ragland
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