Jesus saw discipleship as a group project. Sometimes He called individuals, but usually He called small groups of people to follow Him. It seems that with our Western Evangelical emphasis on “accepting Jesus as personal savior” we often miss the corporate nature of Biblical Christianity. The New Testament pattern of evangelism and discipleship was generally a group effort. Consider the following accounts:
• When Peter and Luke ministered in Philippi a businesswoman named Lydia, and all the members of her household were baptized.
• When Paul, Silas, and Timothy preached in Corinth, a synagogue ruler named Crispus and his entire household believed in the Lord.
• As Crispus began to testify, many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized. (Acts 18:8) The message that saved whole households then will do the same today. As we make disciples we should expect a group response not just individual responses.
2. Urgent response.
Peter and Andrew responded to the call to discipleship at once and James and John responded immediately. We have all seen small children stall when parents declare that it is now bedtime. Sometimes they pretend they did not hear, other times they negotiate for more play time. When Jesus calls us to follow, we should respond with urgency as His original disciples, not as small children who stall and negotiate.3. Purposeful response.
While they did not know exactly where they would go as they began to follow Jesus, they did know what they would be doing. They knew they would be fishing for men, not just randomly wandering from village to village. There was a clear purpose and task for the original twelve that still applies today to all who follow Jesus.
4. Sacrificial response.
Peter and Andrew left their nets when they started following Jesus. James and John left the boat and their father to follow Jesus. All four of these men were fishermen. Answering the call to discipleship cost these men their careers. They left nets, boats, and fishing partners behind. Not everyone is called to a career change, but everyone who follows Jesus must leave something behind. Obviously we all must leave sinful habits, activities, and relationships behind. But we also may need to leave some things behind that are not evil or sinful.