At its core, Christian discipleship is about following Christ. In Matthew’s gospel we read, “While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him” (4:18-20).
Notice the response of the disciples. They didn’t just follow Jesus in theory. They picked up and actually went him them. They literally began following him wherever he went. In doing so, they left behind their jobs, their family, the security of normal lives. They followed Jesus with an amazing amount of trust.
If we were to follow their example in following Christ, what would it look like? In other words, in what way did the disciples follow Christ? Over the next couples of posts, I want to explore this.
First, I think following Christ means following his Lordship.
When these men leave their jobs and their families, what is that saying? It’s saying that they are not the authority in their lives. Jesus has come and called them to be his disciples, now he is the authority in their lives. It’s not perfectly, it’s not without misunderstanding, but these men follow Jesus, submitting to his lordship over their lives.
As Americans, we live in a culture that hates authority. As a society we value freedom. Think about the heroes of our culture – people like William Wallace (Braveheart) and George Washington, leading the Revolutionaries of our country. Regardless of whether they were right or wrong in what they did, we love them because they rebelled against authority, and helped bring freedom from authority.
And that anti-authoritarian streak isn’t just a vague notion. Even in the mundane details of our lives, we hate being told what to do. We often hate following leaders. We think we know what is best for our lives and easily resent it when someone else tries to tell us we’re wrong and tries shows us a better way.
Yet, part of the call to follow Jesus is to follow him as Lord. That is the Christian confession – Jesus is Lord (Rom 10:9). No other person is lord of our lives, not even us. Jesus is lord. And it’s a mark of whether or not we are his disciples of we actually live that way. In John 10, Jesus calls his disciple sheep and himself the shepherd of his sheep. And he is very clear in verse 27, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
Following Christ’s lordship doesn’t just mean obeying is commands (although it does involve that, John 14:15). It also means seeing him as the one who has authority over every area of our lives. By God’s grace, may we live like that.