When our cell phone rings, many of us must admit that we look at the screen to see who is calling, then decide whether or not to answer. Maybe we actually like the person, but they are calling at an inconvenient time, so we ignore the call. Other times we see a number on the screen that we do not recognize or a name we don’t like. Occasionally we look at the name and know exactly what they want from us – exactly what we do not want to do – so we let it ring.
Peter and Andrew heard a call. The caller was Jesus. He was calling them to discipleship. They dropped everything, and answered the call.
What is the call to discipleship and what does it mean to answer it? Matthew 4 answers these questions.
1. The call to discipleship is a call to follow Jesus.
Discipleship is first and foremost about meeting and following Jesus. It is about building a lifelong relationship with Jesus. If we miss this starting point, the discipleship process breaks down into just another religious system of legalistic good works. Being a disciple means to follow Jesus. Making disciples is helping people to follow Jesus.
2. The call to discipleship is a call to fish for men.
Discipleship means that we reach out to others as we follow Jesus. When Jesus told his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19) he was not telling them to find people who are following him and help them become better followers. He was telling them to find lost people who are not following him at all, to introduce them to him, and to help them obey and follow him. Biblical discipleship starts with evangelism and requires us to build relationships with people who do not know or like Jesus.
3. The call to discipleship is a call to fellowship with other disciples.
When Jesus called Peter to follow him, Peter had to follow along with Andrew, James and John. One of the most difficult aspects of discipleship is learning to build relationships with other disciples. If we want to follow Jesus, we must learn to get along with others who are following him.
In summary, discipleship is primarily about building and maintaining relationships on three levels:
• Relationship with Jesus
• Relationship with unbelievers
• Relationship with other disciples