Follow Me

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“And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men (Matt 4:19). “Follow me. Not eloquent, not articulate; but a simple two-word phrase that propelled the fisherman to become fishers of men and an invitation to be a follower. These two words that reset their life from being a fisherman in the Sea of Galilee to a fisher of men. Always listening to Jesus, always following Jesus. This reset in their lifestyle no doubt had cataclysmic effects on Peter and Andrew. The next morning, they followed Jesus instead of going to the seashore.
Launching out to net fish was crucial to their family business, and it was also very familiar. They were schooled in the business of fishing; loved fishing and could discuss fluently the newest techniques of fishing and the best brand of nets along with the ups and downs of the fish market. But when Jesus walked up to them and said follow me, there was something very compelling about the words that they could not resist. They must change their fishing for fish to fishing for men, even though fishing on Galilee was more comfortable and more profitable. Peter and Andrew had answered the call of Jesus to a life of following him.
The Meaning of Follow Me
1. It is a Paradigm shift. How we think and react to life has been changed. No longer could Peter and Andrew go back to the seashore every day, they followed Jesus. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2Co 5:17).
“Follow me” – just two simple words; but they are important words for any Christian. To Peter and Andrew, it meant immediately following Jesus and leaving their fishing nets. The family business no doubt needed them and was going to suffer but following Jesus was their new career.
2. It is an assured path to infamy in the eyes of the locals. The local fishing industry did not understand. Giving their time to following an eccentric off-the-beaten-religious-path teacher was ridiculous. The religious people saw them eat with people that were disgusting to the local community. They asked, Why eateth your master with publicans and sinners? To follow Jesus, the lowly Nazarene from the backwoods infamous town of Galilee, was indeed ridiculous. Why did the disciples follow Him? They followed Him because of where He was going. He was going to heaven, and He was the Messiah. He was worth following; that is where they wanted to be.
They were soon to hear Jesus say to a good moral man seeking eternal life that it meant forsaking a lifestyle of wealth and selling his portfolio of possessions and giving it the poor. They followed him at the expense of their goals of wealth and renown in this world. The disciples were off to a life of preaching an unpopular gospel, having supper appointments with sinners, and finally culminating in the martyrdom of their leader. It was always with this simple command reverberating from their logic and lifestyle – “Follow Me.”
3. It is to be obscure as individual. They allowed Jesus to set the pace of their lives. There were not original; they were followers of Jesus. We will take our cues from someone and are influenced by people we value. One of the ways to follow Jesus is to have a high regard for the brotherhood or to allow the church to have the say in our lives.
And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. The cross that we need to bear is to follow Him in every aspect of the Christian life and especially in the hard work of brotherhood. This includes submission, forgiveness, and reconciliation to the brotherhood.
Do the commands of Jesus actually include the brotherhood? Our Anabaptist parents took the commands of Jesus seriously. They included a great respect for the brotherhood of believers. The spiritual brotherhood played a prominent role in their lives as it wrestled with the prominent issues of that day and defined the practical aspects of interpreting scripture and making applications to life. The brotherhood did not get it right all the time, but they still believed in the safety of the brotherhood. The brotherhood was an organized body that had clearly defined membership. It was a place where personal opinions were tested against the consensus of a Jesus-following membership. Therefore, the brotherhood had a profound effect on their lives. It was a place where the individual became obscure and found a place of submission to the brotherhood. "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another" (John 13:34). "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Matt 16:19). It was a place where godly leadership was given the responsibility or keys of who became members and made final decisions about practical issues.
4. It is not being selective in which commands of Jesus were to be followed. We cannot be selective in following what Jesus commands. We must be a genuine follower. We must take His commands in their entirety. We are called to be separate from sinners and sometimes must take a stand and separate in church life. However, the witness of the gospel is often hindered by the conflict and division of the body of Christ for petty reasons. Brethren and sisters that have a critical attitude toward the local brotherhood tend to focus on finding faults and mistakes with each other and administration. They tend to look for other fellowships or conferences to escape the hard work of brotherhood. They avoid reconciliation and submission and resort to the world’s method, separation. The hindrances to the name of Jesus for these conflicts are shameful. Can we hear Jesus quiet words “come follow me” rather than be an accomplice to this kind of harm to the name of Jesus? Could we in some way find a way to quietly submit or maybe remove ourselves from the situation by following Jesus words and step to the side? "And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, there is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake" (Lu 18:29). Indeed, it is not the Mennonite way, but the clear message of the gospel of Jesus. The call of Jesus is “Follow Me.”