Main Point: When Jesus said, “Follow me,” to the first disciples it meant specific things to them. Understanding the intent, cost, and invitation of this simple phrase helps us follow the way of Jesus in 2023.
Matthew 3:18-22 NIV
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them,22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
- “Follow me” meant something to the first disciples.
a. The teacher believes in me.
John 1:43-50 NIV
43 … Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”
44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. 47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” 48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.” 50 Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.”
b. The learning affects my living.
Matthew 1:19-20 NIV
19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
c. The primary learning outcome is to have God at the center of life.
2. “Follow me” cost something for the first disciples.
Luke14:27, 33 NIV
27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
3. “Follow me” invited the disciples to participate in ministry.
Luke 4:14-21 NIV
14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. 16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
When Jesus said, “Follow me,” to the first disciples it meant specific things to them. For us, we are invited into relationship with God that places Him at the center of life effecting how we live, love, and serve the people around us. How is Jesus saying, “Follow me,” to you today?