(11) And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.Luke 5:11
And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. (28) And he left all, rose up, and followed him.Luke 5:27-28
By observing 4 responses found in this passage we can know what it means to follow Jesus in discipleship.
Response #3– Forsake and Follow
Once the disciples saw the miracle of Jesus they could not help but identify Jesus as something much more than a rabbi. They identified Him as God. This was not always the case during Jesus life. Often when Jesus did His greatest miracles people rejected Him.
Their identification of Jesus caused them to respond in submission to His authority, which lead logically to the third response. Jesus called them to “follow Him”. Going after Jesus, or “walking after Jesus” meant that they were to go where He went, do as He did, and learn what He knew.
In verses 27 and 28 we see Jesus’ calling of Levi, also known as Matthew, the tax collector. Jesus went to this publican, a tax collector, who was defrauding his fellow countrymen on behalf of their foreign oppressors in able to enrich himself. Jesus went to this guy, with all of his issues, and called him to discipleship. “Follow me”. Notice what he said he did:
(28) And he left all, rose up, and followed him.
By leaving these men were forsaking what they were doing before. They could not follow Jesus the way He was demanding and not leave the things they were currently doing behind. Following the master meant leaving the ships. Matthews account said this about James and John.
And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. (22) And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.Matthew 4:21-22
Jesus said a lot about what it meant to follow Him. He often connected following Him with forsaking their current life.
And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. (20) And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. (21) And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. (22) But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.Matthew 8:19-22
And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? (19) And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. (20) Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. (21) And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. (22) Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. (23) And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. (24) And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!Luke 18:18-24
After that rich young man made the decision to not follow Jesus because of His posessions, and Jesus made the point that this often kept people from following in discipleship, Peter noted something about their response to Jesus’ call:
Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. (29) And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, (30) Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.Luke 18:28-30
There is a reward, it is just not always in the right here, right now. Our reward is in heaven!
And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (24) For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.Luke 9:23-24
You can not go north and south at the same time. You can not go east and west concurrently. To follow Jesus, to become Jesus’ disciple, means that you have to forsake the things that keep you from being His disciple. There is a sacrifice. We have to deny ourselves.
- What is something that is keeping your from fully following Jesus Christ? Deny yourself! Follow Jesus!