It was early morning. Peter, Andrew, James, and John stood knee-deep in water, each about a league from the other, casting their nets into the Sea of Galilee hoping to catch some fish. Their conversations, yelled out to each other, usually included current event topics of lakeside life, but today there could be only one topic: Jesus.
A few days earlier, Andrew, a disciple of John the Baptizer, had met Jesus and spent the day with him. That evening he’d brought Peter to meet Jesus, too, and ever since they could talk of nothing else. James and John asked questions and pondered the possibility that Jesus may be the Christ, the Messiah, the promised deliverer and king of the Jews.
The sun was rising, and they began to pull in their nets for the last time. A crowd was forming on the shore behind them. There were so many people, it was hard to tell what was going on. The fisherman forced their way on to shore to clean their nets, when Andrew shouted, “It’s Jesus!” Peter turned to look where Andrew was pointing; James and John, further up the beach, stood to see if they could catch a glimpse; but none of that was necessary. Jesus was already walking along the water’s edge in their direction. Upon reaching them, Jesus simply said, “Become my disciples and I will have you fishing for men.” Just like that, all four of them set their nets down and went to him. Peter pulled his boat up to the shore and Jesus got into it and began to teach the people.
We know that these four as well as eight others became Jesus’ disciples. What does it mean to be a disciple of someone?
In biblical times, a disciple was someone who followed a mentor with the goal adhering to their teachings and imitating their life so completely that in time they would be living copies of their master.
If we call ourselves Christ-followers today, disciples of Jesus, should we not reflect him in everything we do? What does it take to be truly a disciple?
The first commitment is that of studying the life of Jesus. Scripture gives us not only one, but four accounts of Jesus’ life. If we don’t spend time learning how Jesus lived, how will we know how we should then live?
The second commitment is to spend time in conversation with Jesus. Prayer and meditation is critical to our lives as disciples.
A third commitment is to live out what we see in Jesus, first to each other and then to the world around us. Being a disciple is not just a personal commitment, it is a life lived out as a living copy of Jesus. The apostle Paul put it this way, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship.” Romans 12:1.
If we are to change the world, we must live our lives as examples of the world’s most radical change agent… Jesus.