Apr 15, 2008, 6:31 AM
Our Lord Jesus handpicked all of His disciples at the start of His ministry. In the first chapter of the Gospel of Mark verse seventeen Jesus said to Simon Peter and his brother Andrew: “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” They did not hesitate to stop what they were doing to follow Him. Two other brothers, James and his brother John, the sons of Zebedee, fishermen by profession, were recruited practically the same way. “… and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him.” (Matthew 4:22)
We can understand this behavior in the light of what Jesus Himself said about those who want to follow Him. “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10: 37-38) These four men had given up all they possessed - their livelihood and their loved-ones. They literally turned their backs on a bright future in a domain fraught with prospects - because it was for them familiar terrain.
We make nothing of our lives when we decide to follow the Lord Jesus. Nothing else counts for us, just Him. Our whole universe is reduced to Him and is modeled on Him. He takes the steering wheel of our lives and directs us through the paths of righteousness for our own benefit. We give up everything willingly to be with Him. “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14: 26) Total commitment! And there is no looking back.
These selected followers left what was dear to them in order to follow the Lord. Simon Peter, who became the head disciple, made reference to this on one occasion when it appeared they were going to dump everything and abandon Jesus. To the question, “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Peter replied; “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:67-68)
A few days afterwards, Jesus encountered Philip and invited him to follow Him. He in turn went to get Nathaniel to “come and see” the One whom they have been hearing about - Jesus of Nazareth - the one Moses spoke about in the books of the Law. But Nathaniel doubted and remarked: “
You would observe that Philip dragged someone else with him to be a follower as well. It did not just start and end with him. Whilst his conviction could have been a starting point, he went a step further. He shared this vital information. These young Galileans had a glorious opportunity that they took advantage of to the fullest. It was a commitment they were making for the rest of their lives. Through thick and thin along with the myriad challenges Jesus faced culminating in His crucifixion, the disciples stayed put. They had come to see and what they saw convinced them that they had not made the wrong choice.
When you tell someone to follow you, it is evident you have something to show. When he does, it is because he has seen in you someone who can show him the way. He has seen in you a source of inspiration, someone who could edify him, to enable him ascend to the next level. Your follower would have observed you had something to impart to him for his well-being. Otherwise what would be the point following?
There is a dearth of leaders worldwide in the twenty-first century because leadership qualities for which true followers will go the whole hog are not altogether evident. What characterises a leader is his/her ability to serve, to humble him/herself and not to seek to be served. James and John - the sons of Zebedee - disciples of our Lord Jesus were already eyeing possessions in their Master’s kingdom long before His demise. Their mother asked our Lord Jesus to “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right hand and the other at your left in your kingdom.” (Matthew 20:21)
These two disciples were ambitious, seeking to carve a niche for themselves in order to ensure a bright and prosperous future up the leadership ladder. Our Lord Jesus seized this opportunity to teach us all the lesson of humility that all those who seek to lead should heed - for life. “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:26)
True followers have to discern in their leaders this characteristic to serve and to be of service, not the contrary in you in order to follow. Our Lord Jesus was that servant king who showed His disciples and us the way to follow to live a life everlasting. “Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19)