"Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, 'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.' Immediately they left their nets and followed Him." Matthew 4:18-20
Happy New Year! It is my hope, trust and prayer that you and yours will have a blessed and prosperous 2017. Considering the year ahead, my thoughts have recently turned to what my spiritual focus will be. After much thought and prayer, the concept of discipleship rose to the surface.
There is no doubt we have all heard the word "disciple" though many may not be exactly sure of its meaning. Technically, it is a pupil, student or learner. An examination of the Scriptures reveals a more involved definition than that, however. For our Christian purposes, a disciple of Jesus is a person who has heard and responded to his gospel by learning and living his teachings and encouraging others to do likewise. The verbs have been emphasized because being a disciple of Christ is not a passive activity but involves doing.
Imagine being a fishermen (or any other type of worker for that matter) minding your own business when a man walks by and invites you to follow him with the promise of teaching you to be a better you while equipping you to save the lives of others. Would you answer the call? If so, why? If not, why not? Of course this is not just any man. The fishermen had previously met him and were convinced that he was the much awaited Messiah, the literal Son of God. Given the opportunity to follow him and learn from him, they dropped what they were doing and immediately accepted his invitation.
Beloved, the same invitation is extended to us today. If you are reading this, like as not, you have met Jesus. You know him. The question we must all ask ourselves is, have we truly accepted his invitation and are we truly following him? If we think the answer is yes, are we following him in a way that helps us fulfill the purpose of "learning and living his teachings and encouraging others to do likewise?" In those days, true disciples lived with their Rabbi or Master Teacher, learned what he taught, followed him wherever he went and did as he did and directed them to do. Is that a description of your Christian walk?
Throughout this year we will consider discipleship in general, and what it means as well as how to accomplish it, specifically. It is my hope that by year's end, we will all have both a better understanding and an improved walked as we follow our Savior as true disciples.