Along the Lake of Galilee Jesus began to call what Craig Keener calls a nucleus of followers. We don’t have the complete story, I’m sure of that. We don’t know whether Peter, Andrew, James, and John had any prior contact with Jesus. We don’t know if they had previously heard him proclaiming the kingdom of heaven. We don’t know the extent of the conversation on this particular day.
But here is what we do know:
- It was highly unusual for rabbis to call followers rather than the followers to seek a rabbi to follow.
- Jesus didn’t ask them to follow him. He issued an imperative to “come after” him.
- “Come after” is a technical term for attaching oneself to a rabbi for an apprenticeship.
- At the end of the discussion, all four of these men followed Jesus. Immediately.
- They left their businesses and their families.
So forms the nucleus. When we follow Jesus today we are accreted to the outer edge of a huge, worldwide, historical family of those who come after Jesus. We are also to be disciples. That is not a casual undertaking. It involves leaving other things that are important and following Jesus, the most important. It means an apprenticeship.
We have made it into a club. Shame on us.
It is becoming apprentices in the kingdom of heaven. That’s a big deal.