Posted By Nan

Matthew 4:18-22
This is the first time Jesus called disciples. It is amazing that He just called them to follow Him. He didn’t try to sell following Him. He didn’t go into explanations. They didn’t ask questions either. As is written in The Message, they just dropped what they were doing and followed Him. The Amplified Bible relates verse 19 as Jesus saying “Follow Me as My disciples, accepting Me as your Master and Teacher and walking the same path of life that I walk and I will make you fishers of men”.
Those words are so powerful. This is what Jesus asks of us. He wants us to follow Him as His disciples accepting Him as both our Master and Teacher and follow Him on the path that He walks. That is the important part of Jesus’ message.
Most people would relate, that following their first encounter with Jesus, they dropped everything and followed Jesus. That is the effect of a first encounter with Jesus. The trouble is, so many do not continue to follow. The request to follow is not just a once off, do it now thing. It is a continuous decision to follow Jesus. The early disciples walked physically with Jesus. They remained in His presence. It didn’t necessarily matter what they believed. They remained physically with Jesus. Over time, as the disciples learnt more, they accepted Jesus’ teaching and identified with the salvation he was offering. After Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, following Jesus came to mean identifying with Him. This included being persecuted and rejected for that faith.
As followers of Jesus we are called to accept Jesus’ teaching and the salvation He has given us. It means we identify as followers of Jesus, no matter how much we may be persecuted or rejected for having that faith. It means we speak honestly of our faith and stop worrying about ‘offending’ other people. Other religions speak openly and sometimes forcefully about their faith. Those who follow Jesus tend to be quiet about it. I know there are times when I am quiet about it.
There is a story about a woman whose only child was killed in an accident. The first thing she did was get in a taxi and ask the driver to find a Moslem so she could get prayer. Her reasoning was that Moslem’s were always praying and she needed prayer. I felt so sad that she did not perceive Christians as people who prayed. As I reflected on this I realised Christians spend a lot of time worrying about offending people. We even water down Easter and Christmas so a not to offend others. No other religion would water down an important religious day. Why do we? I realised prominent Christians spend more time criticising same sex marriage, or homosexuality, or any of a number of things that they have decided other people should not be doing. If they offer to pray, it is often used in a condescending manner or in an inauthentic way. Christians are not seen to openly thank God for things, or to express loving concern about events and speak of praying over those concerns. I am not saying Christians do not pray. They do. But they are not seen to pray.
I am issuing me the challenge to be more open in speaking out about my faith. Would you like to join me in that challenge?

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