Following An Unlikely Hero
“Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” ~Jesus
There is something very strange about Jesus, strangely good – He draws us to Him.
This didn’t just start recently, in modern times. No, it began in Jesus’ early thirties, when He decided to start His public ministry. He needed a group of people, close people, to learn from Him on a very intimate level. These people were called disciples.
12 followers who were willing to be taught by Him, personally. The very people whom the foundation of Christianity would be built upon! People whom our ancestors would somehow learn from, in turn, we too, would learn from – actual friends of Jesus, from when He lived on earth.
Now just imagine that you are living out your normal life, working, striving to have a good relationships, food on the table, or just raising a family, and a strange man approaches you and says, “Come, follow me.”
Why would you do such a thing?!
There would have to be something spiritually compelling to get you to do so, because nothing else makes any sense! And that’s exactly what Jesus is – spiritually compelling. He draws to Him through the spiritual realm! (see Revelation 3:20). So as Jesus is rounding up the bedrock-builders of our faith, what happens? This is so cool:
There is a snowball effect! One tells another, then tells another, then tells another! “Come meet this man named Jesus! Don’t ask, just come see for yourself!”
And what I like best, is that Jesus doesn’t approach them with overbearing religious jargon, but instead, with friendly relationship. He smiles. How bout that? He makes the relationship with Him appealing. (Oh if more Christians knew how to do this!).
All Jesus really does is nothing fancy, but instead, says, “Come get to know me.” He simply begins to invite them to just hang out. The Bible says to “spend the day with.” Jesus beckons the disciples with, “Come, and you will see” (John 1:39).
Now, I can tell you, personally, that AFTER you begin to join Jesus in this relationship, there is something that makes you want to tell others about Him. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it becomes a brand new goal! And this goal has altered my entire life! It has made me become a man, that, 5 or 6 years ago, I would not even recognize!
What’s most crazy is the fact that I’ve never even seen Him like these men did! Peter attempts to explain this phenomenon, when he wrote:
“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Peter 1:8).
THAT’S IT! INEXPRESSIBLE AND GLORIOUS JOY! That defines my current situation, even as Jesus continues to shake up my entire life!
And speaking of Peter, whom Jesus called “the rock” (and Peter even denied Jesus 3 times, that makes me feel better about my faith some days), it was his brother who brought him to Jesus! Andrew, another original disciple, found out about Jesus from John the Baptist, and immediately ran to Peter (then called Simon), saying, “‘We have found the Messiah.’ And he brought him to Jesus” (John 1:41,42).
But the ripple effect of followers didn’t stop there! Phillip was next, and then Nathaniel!
Jesus said to Phillip, another regular man (not a Pharisee, or self-righteous religious person), “Follow me” (John 1:43). Phillip then ran off to Nathaniel, telling Him about Jesus, but ole’ Nate said, “He’s from Nazareth?! What good can come from Nazareth?!” (see John 1:46).
Phil said, “C’mon! You’ll see!”
What’s so cool about Nathaniel is what Jesus did to him, a Godly okie-doke. As he approached Jesus, he asked Him, “How do you know me?” Jesus replied, “I saw you sitting under that fig tree before Phillip even approached you” (see John 1:48).
Bamboozled, I’m sure Nathaniel was thinking, “What?! This man saw me all the way across town, sitting by myself?! Nobody even knew I was there! That’s my secret spot!”
But instead, he declared, “You are the Son of God” (see John 1:49).
Jesus simply replied, “You believe because I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that” (John 1:50)…Was that not the understatement of the day, or what? -Matt
A prayer for you: Jesus I want to thank you today for relentlessly pursuing me. Thank you for calling my name in the darkness. Thank you for showing me what my true purpose is, which is FOLLOWING YOU. Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. You are calling ALL OF US to follow you! ALL OF US! From the original disciples, to myself, to every other Christian, you are asking us to BE YOU in this world. You are asking us, through this relationship, to show others your love, your forgiveness, your hope, your bravery, and your confidence! Teach us how to do this with enthusiasm! Teach us how to be bold, truthful, graceful, and loving! Teach us how to follow you SO CLOSE that people will want what we have – which is simply, you. Amen.