18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
Jesus finished up a 40-day fast in the wilderness and overcame temptation by the devil himself. He hears that John the Baptist, who was related to Jesus and had been preaching of the coming of the Kingdom of God, had been arrested by Herod and decides to stay in Capernaum.
Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John all record accounts of Jesus calling his first followers. Mathew and Mark record brief descriptions of Jesus encountering Peter, James, and John by the sea and calling them to follow him. Luke and John have more in-depth details about how the first interaction occurred. When you combine all 4 accounts, you arrive at a conclusion that Jesus, being a Rabbi, called these young men to stop what they were currently doing for a living and come follow him with the promise of being given a new purpose and mission.
1. Jesus continues to call.
At first it was 12, and now it is everyone.
Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
God desires a close-proximity relationship with us. It was for this reason that Jesus was sent to us. Jesus closed the gap between us and God and made it possible to know Him closely.
2. Proximity is not the same as recognition.
Jesus calls; we acknowledge and follow. It’s a calling, not a kidnapping.
Jesus stands at the door and knocks. Our doors are locked from the inside. He is always close but it’s our acknowledgment of His presence that changes things. Peter and the disciples had to accept in order to be changed. I can live in the same house and not be present with the people there.
Matthew 15:1-9 Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said,2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.”3 He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?4 For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’5 But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” 6 he need not honor his father.’So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God.7 You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: 8 “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; 9 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
3. The change comes from relationship.
Follow me and I will make you… Relationships change us.
Jim Rohn “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
All relationships, with the exception of our relationship with Christ, change us from the outside in. You are exposed to your friends’ opinions and actions when you are around them. Our relationship with Christ is the inverse.
John 15:4-5 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Being in a building where he is doesn’t mean he is in you.
1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,
2 Timothy 1:14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.
Romans 8:11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
We either let the outside affect the inside or the inside affect the outside. We struggle because there is nothing in us to combat what is around us.
How is being in the same room with someone different from truly spending time with them?
What are some things that prevent us from realizing that God is right here with us every moment?
When have you felt Jesus calling to you in your life?
How is knowing about Jesus different from having a relationship with him?
What is the difference between doing all the right things because we’re Christians and doing the right things because of our relationship with God?
How has spending time with Jesus changed who you are?
What are things you can do to get closer to God than you are today?