Jesus calls us to follow Him. He says to each of us, “Follow Me.” His words come to us as a Word of challenge. Before the Word of challenge, there is the Word of love. “Follow Me” – These words come to us from the Saviour whose heart is full of love for us. He speaks to us with amazing grace. He speaks to us with boundless mercy. He speaks to us with the wonderful love. His love is the greatest love of all. When we hear the words, “Follow Me”, we must remember that it is our Saviour who speaks these words to us. His words speak to us of His love, His grace and His mercy. Once we hear the Word of Christ as a Word of love, grace and mercy, we see the real meaning of the challenge contained in the words, “Follow Me.” God is calling us to live in the power of His love. We are to let His love change us. This is what it means to follow Jesus. It means that we are to be changed by His love.
In the story of the calling of the first disciples, we see the importance of building our lives on the Word of God. The story begins with Jesus preaching the Word of God. In Luke 5:1, we see Jesus standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. The people are crowding round Him. They are listening to the Word of God. In Luke 5:3, Jesus sits down and teaches the people from the boat.
The preaching of the Gospel and the teaching of God’s Word – Here, we have the God-given foundation for our life of faith and obedience, our life of following our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Word of God is the Word that comes from God. It is the Word that tells us of God. The Word of God comes to us as a Word of love, a Word of grace and a Word of mercy. The Word, which God speaks to us, is also a Word of challenge. It is a Word which calls us to follow Christ. God has spoken His Word to us. It is His Word of love, grace and mercy.
Now, we must speak His Word for Him. We gather together to worship Him. When we go out from the place of worship, we are sent out to the place of witness. Our service of worship comes to an end. It is the beginning of our service of witness. Once we have heard God’s Word in God’s House, we must go out and make His Word known to others. We must invite them to join with us in worshipping the Lord.
We see Jesus preaching and teaching God’s Word. We see the people listening to God’s Word. They are learning from God’s Word. Like them, we must listen and learn. May God give us grace to be faithful – faithful in preaching and teaching, faithful in listening and learning.
What do we learn as we listen to the Word of the Lord? One thing we learn from Jesus is this – He didn’t only preach in the synagogue. He was also an open air preacher. By the lakeside, Jesus preached. From the boat, Jesus preached. His message is not to be kept locked up in our places of worship. We are to take His message to others. We are to pass on the message of His love to the people we meet.
Jesus challenged Simon Peter to “launch out into the deep.” This is what we must do if we are to become “fishers of men.” “Launching out into the deep” – This is the challenge of witness. It is also the challenge of worship. It is the challenge of reaching out to others. It is also the challenge of allowing the Lord to reach deeply into our hearts and change us. The Lord is looking at us and He is saying to us, “There needs to be more depth. Your love for Me is too superficial. It is too shallow. I want you to “launch out into the deep” with Me.”
In Psalm 42:7, we read the words, “Deep calls to deep.” The Bible speaks to us of “the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10). It speaks to us of “the deep truths of the faith” (1 Timothy 3:9). God is looking for a real depth of response from us. May God help us to listen to His Word. May God help us to learn from His Word. May God help us to really appreciate His wonderful love. May God help us to say with the Psalmist, “How precious is Your unfailing love!” (Psalm 36:7). As we rejoice in the love of the Lord, we will enjoy his the abundance of His blessing – “They feast in the abundance of Your House; You give them drink from Your river of delights” (Psalm 36:8).