Faith & Insight: a worthwhile choice

Michael Hurlbert

A follower is someone who follows another person or way of life and submits to the teaching of that leader or way of life. Wherever there is a teacher and a student present, the idea of ​​discipleship is also present. In this spirit, we understand that to be a disciple of Jesus is to follow him and model one’s life after his example as set forth in the scriptures. It comes first with a call or an invitation to follow him only by the answer of the called one. This pattern is seen when Jesus calls his first disciples.
Simon called Peter and Andrew were fishing along the Sea of ​​Galilee. The two brothers were fishermen casting their nets in the water and hoping to get a return. It was their vocation and their livelihood.
As Jesus walked along the shore, he said to the brethren, “Come, follow me. Immediately, the two brothers left their nets and followed him. For them, the call to discipleship was an invitation to learn his teaching and follow his example. He demanded a break with their past and gave them a new future. Therefore, these two disciples set down their nets with joy.
It is important to remember that the call to discipleship is given to all and can overcome all social divisions. This is because the foundation of such a call is based on who Jesus is. In fact, in the list of followers is a man known as “Simon the Zealot”. At that time, to be a fanatic was to be a member of a nationalist party which sought to free itself from Rome.
Yet Simon can follow Jesus alongside Levi, who is a tax collector. In this society, these two groups were opposed to each other. Yet the commission to follow Jesus overcame their differences. We see then that Jesus calls people to fellowship regardless of social divisions.
When a person considers this call to discipleship, it must be done with caution because it requires a break with oneself. Like the disciples who set their nets, following Jesus will require a break with the past. Alternatively, like Simon and Levi, following Jesus will require a break with social preferences. All of this is made clear by Jesus when he says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” When we follow Jesus, he becomes greater and we become less.
In the end, the decision to follow Jesus is worth the cost. Although it involves a willingness to give one’s life, there is a promise of returning to real life and reconnecting with the father. As a student molds himself after the pattern of Christ, his attitudes and minds are renewed. They have put on a new self that is like God in true righteousness and holiness. The disciple becomes Christlike and experiences a truly abundant life.
Michael Hurlbert is a pastor at First Christian Church.

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