What does it mean to answer Jesus’ call? John Stott wrote, “At its simplest Christ’s call was ‘Follow me.’ He asked men and women for their personal allegiance. He invited them to learn from him, to obey his words and to identify themselves with his cause. To follow Christ is to renounce all lesser loyalties.”
In Matthew 4, Jesus’ public ministry had begun. John the Baptist had been taken into custody, and, because of the growing threat, Jesus left Nazareth and settled in Capernaum. There He preached publicly a message of repentance, an acknowledgment of sin and a turning from it (v. 17).
Two fishermen, Peter and Andrew (v. 18), were familiar with Jesus, since Andrew had been a disciple of John the Baptist (John 1:35–42). They’d already considered Jesus’ mission and message. When Jesus said to them, “Come, follow me” (v. 19), they were prepared to immediately leave their boats, their occupation, and their livelihood—and follow Jesus.
Next, Jesus called another pair of brothers, James and John, who were fishing with their father. When He called them, “immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him” (v. 22). The magnitude of their obedience is highlighted by the fact that they also left their family.
While discipleship was a common concept in the Jewish culture, being a disciple of Jesus was distinct. The traditional model involved a rabbi, demonstrating his teaching of the Torah, and his disciples following his pattern. Certainly, Jesus’ disciples were committed to His teaching, but they were even more committed to His person. Jesus was not only offering them temporal teacher training but also inviting them into an eternal kingdom relationship.
>> The call of first disciples highlights Jesus’ authority. When He calls us to follow, the only appropriate response is obedience and utter dedication. A renouncing of all “lesser loyalties.” A complete realignment of focus and life.
“Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness...It is we who extol the Lord, both now and forevermore. Praise the LORD” (Ps. 115:1,18).