Encouragement for your daily walk with God
The people in Nazareth rejected Jesus’ ministry, so He established a new headquarters at Capernaum, in Galilee. Galilee was a commercial area bordering Syria and Phoenicia. It gave Jesus many opportunities to interact with both Jews and Gentiles. Because it was on the major trade route, the Via Mares, news of His ministry quickly spread outside the area.
When Jesus began His ministry, His message was the same as John the Baptizer’s, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is in your midst — near or at hand” [Matthew 4.17]. John, an “old covenant” prophet, and Jesus, the first and greatest “new covenant” prophet, preached the same message. Repentance was essential to both covenants.
The first four to follow the Lord were Andrew, Peter, James, and John. What I find so amazing is that they immediately responded to His call to follow Him. In those days, it was customary for the student to choose their Rabbi. But Jesus reversed it and issued a commanding “invitation.” “Follow Me,” He said (Δεῦτε ὀπίσω μου, in Greek - “Come now, follow Me). I call it a “commanding invitation” because obedience is the only proper response to His call.
The Scripture records their immediate response, “… they immediately… followed Him.” When Jesus called, they did not hesitate. They left everything behind and followed Him. John Chrysostom wrote, “Christ seeks this kind of obedience from us, such that we delay not even for a moment, though something absolutely most necessary should press in on us” (Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew, 14.2).
I’m amazed by the response of those early disciples, and humbled by my response. I want to figure things out, count the cost, so to speak. I want to figure out where I’m going and how to get there. I want to know how much I will have to live on. I want to know how it’s going to turn out. Not those disciples — “Follow Me,” and they did, immediately!
I have to work on that. Perhaps you do too. Let’s follow Him, no questions asked.
And they immediately left the boat and their father, and followed Him. Matthew 4.22