18 As Jesus walked alongside the Galilee Sea, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew, throwing fishing nets into the sea, because they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” he said, “and I’ll show you how to fish for people.” 20 Right away, they left their nets and followed him. 21 Continuing on, he saw another set of brothers, James the son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with Zebedee their father repairing their nets. Jesus called them and 22 immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
In the gospels, if we read them carefully, we can see important recurring patterns. One very important one is the phrase that we see repeated in the scripture above: “follow me.”
A couple of authors offer their thoughts on this passage:
When Jesus came on the scene in human history and began calling followers to himself, he did not say, “Follow certain rules. Observe specific regulations. Perform ritual duties. Pursue a particular path.” Instead, he said, “Follow me.”
With these two simple words, Jesus made clear that his primary purpose was not to instruct his disciples in a prescribed religion; his primary purpose was to invite his disciples into a personal relationship. He was not saying, “Go this way to find truth and life.” Instead, he was saying, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” The call of Jesus was, “Come to me. Find rest for your souls in me. Find joy in your heart from me. Find meaning in your life through me.”
This extremely shocking and utterly revolutionary call is the essence of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus: we are not called to simply believe certain points or observe certain practices, but ultimately to cling to the person of Christ as life itself.(1)
A Jewish rabbi who predated Jesus, said, “Let your house be a gathering place for sages. And wallow in the dust of their feet, and drink in their words with gusto.” (2) I love this image of what it means to follow a teacher. It means being so close that the we are covered in the dust they stir up as they walk.
There is something in this instruction that helps me make sense of Jesus’ call to follow him. To follow Jesus is to “wallow in the dust of his feet.”
- Sit with this image for a while.
- Reread todays Scripture verses.
- What do you think it means to “follow Jesus?
- Take the dirt that you’ve set aside for this devotional (see instructions at thevineyard.church/lent). Take some of the dirt and hold it in your hands. Imagine what it would be like to follow someone so closely that you “wallowed in the dirt of their feet.”
- Think now about your day. Imagine the conversations you’ll have. Imagine the tasks the hope to accomplish. Imagine what it would be like to follow the way of Jesus in each of these situations so closely that you were covered in the dust of his feet. Would that change anything?
Jesus, I want to walk with you today. I want to walk so close with you that I am covered in the dust of your feet. Help me to understand what this means. Help me to see the traces of your presence all throughout my day.
(1) David Platt and Francis Chan, Follow Me: A Call to Die. a Call to Live. (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2013).
(2) Jacob Neusner, Alan J. Avery-Peck, and William Scott Green, eds., The Encyclopedia of Judaism (Leiden; Boston; Köln: Brill, 2000), 1200.