The First Disciples
Open Your Bible
Luke 5:1-39, Isaiah 58:6-12, Joel 2:12-17
Intellect and logic would have told Jesus’s first disciples not to follow Him. They hardly knew the guy. They had stable jobs as fishermen and tax collectors. By the world’s logic, they shouldn’t have left steady paychecks to follow a practical stranger! But Jesus told Peter, James, and John, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people” (Luke 5:10 NIV). No questions asked. No curiosity expressed at the utter strangeness of this statement. What do you mean, “fish for people”? The men simply “left everything, and followed him” (v.11).
It was the same with Matthew. Jesus hadn’t yet shaken Matthew’s hand before He was inviting the man along, saying, “Follow me!” Matthew’s response? Leaving everything behind, “he got up and began to follow him” (vv.27–28).
As a result of the disciples’ responses, they ended up on the adventure of a lifetime. Full of pain and heartache, yes, but oh, how it was worth it.
While reading today’s passage, I found myself feeling jealous of the disciples’ seemingly easy faith—and resonating with the Pharisees’ suspicious and questioning attitude. In some seasons, faith is easy. My heart believes. I see God at work and can faithfully follow. These days, faith is not coming as easily. My head is loud: This isn’t practical! This isn’t logical! Make a better plan for yourself! My heart is afraid: What if this doesn’t work out? What if Jesus was wrong? What if this will all be for nothing? I am uncertain of taking the next step Christ is calling me to. I am wary of the unlit path before me, even with Christ beside me.
But what does Jesus say? Don’t be afraid. Follow me.
Perhaps the disciples’ faith is not the point here, so much as Jesus’s belief in them. He had faith in Peter, James, John, and Matthew, didn’t He? He saw something in them they did not see in themselves, or else He wouldn’t have asked them to follow Him. Maybe when my faith feels weak, I do not need to muster more. Maybe it’s enough to remember I was called. Sometimes faith precedes the step. Sometimes it comes after.
The response to Jesus by these first disciples is immediate and whole-hearted. They leave everything behind. They follow Him—not because they are pious or perfect, but because Jesus is worth following. All they know at this point is they want to be near Him. So do I. Let’s surrender our hearts and our heads to Christ today. Let Him lead us on the unlit path. It may have pain and heartache, but oh, my friends, I think it will be worth it.