“Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.” (Matthew 4:22)
When Jesus called His disciples in Matthew 4, He gave them an unambiguous command: “Follow Me.” And we see in the succeeding verses that this is exactly what they did: verse 20 says that Peter and Andrew “left their nets and followed Him.” Then verse 22 adds that James and John “left the boat and their father, and followed Him.” But what did they follow Him in doing? The very next verse tells us:
Verse 23 adds: “Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, TEACHING in their synagogues, and PROCLAIMING the gospel of the Kingdom, and HEALING every kind of disease …”. This verse describes three basic ministries Jesus was involved in: evangelism (“proclaiming”), discipleship (“teaching”) and caring (“healing”). With the addition of worship (:10) which is to be every believer’s priority, these activities marked the ministry of the disciples and the early church. They truly “followed” Jesus by doing what He did.
We should evaluate ourselves then: if we say that we are “following Jesus” then we should also be found doing what He did: reaching and teaching and caring for people. Do these activities characterize your life and schedule? Are you in fact doing what Jesus was doing? If not, can you really say that you are “following” Him?
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