I have innocently had people say “oh, so you practice a different religion to your parents” (my family are Muslim). And I just want to say: you’re getting me wrong. You’ve got my motivation wrong. I’m not a Christian because I’m a moralistic person who likes Judeo-Christian values and church traditions. I am a Christian because I saw Someone great and I was compelled by His beauty.
“Immediately, they left the boat
and their father and followed him” – Matthew 5:2
When Jesus called his first disciples, Simon and his brother Andrew, the bible records their response. Moved by a sense of urgency, immediately, they left the boat. They saw something in Jesus that they knew they had to follow Him.
They left the boat.
And with that, they left behind their careers, their plans thus far, their security and source of income. In those times, men would often go into the same trade as their fathers. Jesus’ earthly father was Joseph who was a carpenter, and so we see Jesus as a carpenter before he began his public ministry. Similarly, Simon and Andrew’s father was a fisherman and so they too were fishermen. They let go of their trade because they saw Jesus to be worthwhile. It was a cost they were willing to pay. But, that was not all.
They left their father.
Middle Eastern cultures are extremely family orientated. You have a primary, moral responsibility and duty to your parents and your father’s house. Jesus, who is at this stage still a stranger for the most part to Simon and Andrew, asks them to follow him. And they leave behind their father to follow this seemingly “only” Jewish teacher. This would not be well received by the community at large. They risked disapproval, scorn and familial tensions in the pursuit of Jesus. It couldn’t have been an easy decision.
And for all of us today, following Jesus is never easy. Between battling sin, growing in holiness, rejecting the world’s values, facing persecutions of various kinds depending on where you live in the world, there must be something that pulls the heart towards Jesus.
There is worthiness and beauty that is all compelling. And it is by grace that our eyes are open to it. The blind do not cause their eyes to see, the dead do not cause themselves to rise to life again. It is a demonstration of divine love to be able to behold the beauty of the person of Jesus Christ.
But we can press in more, we will never exhaust His beauty. There is always more of Him to love and adore.
We can pray “open my eyes, Lord.”
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. – 1 Corinthians 13:12
I am reminded of this verse often when I am bothered about my capacity to behold the wonders of Jesus, God Almighty in the flesh. But I am also encouraged to press on, there is more of Him to be seen and adored. The more I adore Him, the more I can lay down to pursue Him.
As with the first disciples, we too must make decisions to lay down certain things in the pursuit of Christ but ultimately, it is no sacrifice. You gain more of Christ which is more than anything creation could ever give you. Press on to see more of His all compelling beauty, majesty and glory. And be glad that one day, you will see Jesus not dimly but clearly, sharply and face to face.