With or Without
This repost is edited from its submission one year ago today. I felt it appropriate as we start fresh in a new year and new decade.
In a Bible study I attended years ago, we talked about Jesus selecting his disciples at the beginning of His ministry.
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.
The class went on to read how each disciple dropped everything and followed Jesus at His request. The Bible study leader asked this question, “Forget what we know about Jesus, would you have dropped everything to follow him just by his invitation alone?”
When I was a teen-ager, my mom used to question the decisions I made. She always asked me if I had to do what everyone else was doing. In reality, I did follow the crowd just to fit in, but her question gave me reason to pause and figure out if I needed to continue doing what everyone else was doing.
Without the question from my mom, would I have followed Jesus if He passed me on the street and asked me to follow Him?
With the question from my mom, would I have not followed Jesus because everyone else was?
Jesus is God with skin, and I always wonder what his eyes looked like. Could that have been the catchall for Jesus when he called out to Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, and the other eight disciples? The sincerity of his eyes alone capturing the hearts of people. I bet they were soft and gentle and lit up when he smiled.
Sit in silence and picture what it would look like for you to be face-to-face with Jesus when He says, “Beloved, stop what you are doing and follow me!” Can you put down the smartphone, the iPad, the Nook, and the video game controller? Can you extinguish the cigarette or drop the vaping device in your left hand and dump out the drink in your right?
Without faith, the invitation to “follow me” is a conversation-starter. However, Jesus does not need to hear what you need to do before you follow Him. With faith, the invitation to “follow me” is accompanied by Jesus’s hand extended your way. And those eyes…