Follow Me, He Said

As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea–for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him. (Mark 1)

Someone jarred my thinking the other day. He asked if we try to “make someone into a Christian.” That is a phrase I have heard often in evangelical circles.

So, you meet someone who is seeking; someone who has questions about purpose and life; someone not sure where they are going. What is your response?

Granted that these four men were prepared. We know that at least Andrew was with John the Baptist from other stories. But Jesus just said, “Follow me.”

And many other times in the stories, Jesus just offered an invitation, “Follow me.”

Jesus, in fact, never used the term Christian. It was first used a few years later by outsiders referring to the group in almost derogatory terms.

Jesus? He just offered invitations.

Shouldn’t we copy that? That’s what disciples of a teacher or master do–copy the teacher. He’s like the pattern and we try to form ourselves to it. And so, when we meet people rather than dumping a whole bunch of Bible verses on them we just offer a simple invitation. Follow him.

And what about us? Are we more concerned with following the law (and making sure everyone else follows the law, for we are mostly concerned about others)? Or do we simply follow.

Jesus told us to know the scriptures. Jesus told us to pray. Jesus told us to have faith.

Why do we make things so complicated and authoritarian? We follow and invite others to follow along with us. An invitation to a party is much more attractive than a command to behave.

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