Follow Me: The Call to Discipleship

Recently I've been re-reading a fantastic book by the late Martin Franzmann called Follow Me: Discipleship According to Saint Matthew.  This post was inspired by that book and will also be used as my newsletter article this month. 

“Follow Me.”

With those two words Jesus called individuals to be His disciples.

Note well, this was not merely a Rabi calling a student to come and learn from him.  In fact, Jesus never even permits others to admire him as a teacher.  When the rich young man (Matthew 19:17) and both Nicodemus (John 3:1-21) and the Jews in John 7 express admiration for Jesus as a great teacher (or Rabi), Jesus dismisses such talk.

Jesus is no mere teacher, but the Messiah.  And when He calls individuals to follow Him, He isn’t calling them as a teacher to come and simply learn a better way to live.  He isn’t merely calling them to follow His teachings, but to follow Him!

“Follow Me” Jesus said to Galilean fishermen.  They left their nets and followed Him.
“Follow Me” Jesus said to the tax collector named Matthew.  He left his tax collecting business and followed.

“Follow Me” Jesus said to the rich young man.  But the rich young man instead turned away from 

Jesus and left. He didn’t follow.  Rather than follow the call of the Messiah, the man chose to retain his wealth and status.

“Follow Me” Jesus says to you.

This is no small thing.  In the ancient world, students were expected to choose a Raibi to follow and from whom they could learn.  But Jesus does things much differently.  No one can choose to be His disciple.  It depends entirely upon Him calling an individual to be His disciple.

And He has called you to be His disciple.

Now, you could, like the rich young man, hear the call of Jesus but refuse it because it means giving up something you love more than Him.  There are many things we love in this world; sports, money, pride, sex, and on and on.  

But Jesus is calling you to be His disciple.  “Follow Me” He says to you.

Will this mean leaving behind things that you love and enjoy in this world?  In some instances, the answer is an absolute “yes.”  Even in the cases when discipleship doesn’t mean that you are to leave things behind, it does mean that you should be ready to leave them behind for the sake of Jesus.

But in many cases, being a disciple of Jesus doesn’t mean leaving something behind, but a transformation of how you use, view, and understand them.  When you are a disciple of Jesus, there is nothing in your life that remains untouched by that call to discipleship.  Your wallet, your body, your mind, your marriage, your parenting, your work…everything is transformed or being transformed by the call to discipleship. 

One of my favorite theologians, Martin Franzmann, wrote this;
The Christ who called Matthew can be our Christ, to shape and mold our wills with His whole gift and His whole claim of grace. He will write the Law into our hearts, make pure and acceptable our worship, and put serene confidence into our bread-and-butter lives. He will equip us for conflict with the irreligious and the falsely religious world about us and make us capable of doing what Hid disciples must do, without harshness and without feverish self-will, with prayer and with love. He will give us courage for the narrow way and the strait gate. He will close our ears to seductive prophecy and close our eyes to the false splendor of “successful” churchmanship.  He will enable us to lives of eschatological responsibility under His Messianic word, a life in which hearing and doing are one.           
-Follow Me: Discipleship According to Saint Matthew, p. 225-226
Listen…Jesus is calling you to come to Him and receive forgiveness.
Listen…Jesus is calling you to learn of Him by studying His Word.
Listen…Jesus is calling you to a new life, shaped by following Him in all areas of your life.
Listen…Jesus is calling you to be part of His church.
Listen…Jesus is calling to you!

“Follow Me.” 


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