Over fifty (50) times in the four Gospels it is recorded that Jesus said to others, “follow Me”. The first time is in Mt. 4:19 when Jesus was selecting and calling His disciples; “And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”” (Matthew 4:19). This invitation is not like the game, ‘follow the leader’, seeing if you can go where the leader goes and do what the leader does. In Jesus’ invitation, there is a major difference. We see in this and other Scriptures that this word “follow” really means “come here away from where you are to Me”. There is a very clear reason for Jesus framing the invitation in this way. He does not want us to follow Him as men follow men. Jesus has something far greater in mind.
If we are going to truly be His disciples, He wants us to enter into a process that does two things; it attaches us more and more to Himself as our Leader and example, and we are transformed in the process. In Matthew 4:19, Jesus promised that He personally “will make you fishers of men”. The words “I will make” actually come from one word in the Greek which means, “to cause to be” or “to make or create to be”. Why is this critical for understanding what Jesus is saying? Following Jesus cannot take place without transformation of the mind, heart and life.
The disciples finally understood the power of this invitation when the Spirit came on the day of Pentecost. They were not the same as before. The transformation could not have been done by themselves! It required following Jesus and becoming His possession, and then being filled by His Spirit which He gave from the Father. When we really allow this transformation to take place, fishing for men becomes a top priority, rewarded by the Lord Himself.
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