Following Closely. When Jesus calls ….
Can you remember a moment when you made a decision to follow Jesus? For some people it a definite moment of change. They can look back and say they were converted – they turned around to follow a new direction in life. For others it is a gradual thing, but they know something happened and they became followers of Jesus.
There are plenty of examples of this in the New Testament, so this week we are going to read about how Jesus called some individuals to follow Him, and what are the implications of deciding to be a Jesus-follower.
v 9 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him.
Called to be a learner.
Matthew, a despised Tax Collector (he would have collected money for the Romans who occupied the land – we would call him a collaborator, hand-in-hand with the enemy) was called to follow Jesus and be a disciple, that is a learner. We are inclined to think of those first followers as the great men of faith who saw the risen Jesus, proclaimed the gospel, and changed the world. But their initial calling was to be disciples, followers who were learners. Matthew had grasped this from Jesus Himself when he recalls Jesus saying ‘ Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. ‘ ( Matthew 11:29) Far from being a know-it-all, every follower of Jesus is a learner – and stays a learner for life! Moreover, I don’t think Jesus was talking about an academic form of learning, it was learning that came through following a good example. It was a form of learning that transformed life, making people humble and gentle at heart, and finding rest for their souls. Jesus was a teacher who did not compete with the Jews in knowing all the details of the Old Testament (which of course, He did!) – He taught by saying ‘Watch me and do the same’. Lessons of life and faith come that way.
We are all called to follow Jesus as disciple-learners, making our daily experience the answer to questions of life.