“While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him.”
We are looking at how Simon Peter transformed as a result of his relationship with Jesus. Simon was a good guy, but he was on a common path. Jesus called Simon to leave the common path, and to follow Him on the uncommon path. This was the starting point of Peter’s great journey of transformation. The rest of Peter’s life was a continual path of learning, growing, and giving more and more of himself to the Lord.
Keep in mind that there can be no following without a forsaking. To follow Jesus is to reject all lesser loyalties. Simon and Andrew “left their nets and followed him.” James and John “left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and followed him.” Matthew, who heard Christ’s call while he was “sitting at the tax office… left everything, and rose and followed him.”
Jesus was unequivocal that following Him requires forsaking the common path. “Any of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14.33).
The message is that we must be willing to renounce anything that would compete with our allegiance to Jesus and the path He calls us to follow. This is why scripture admonishes us not to love the world or the things in the world. Love for the world displaces love for God. “If anyone loves the world, the love for the Father is not in him.”
The world wants your allegiance and commitment. It wants your attention and affection. It wants you to believe and behave according to its standards. So you must choose to whom you will give allegiance: the Lord and his standards, or the world and its standards. You cannot have both.
Jesus taught the same thing. “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6.24). This message is also in the book of James: “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4.4).
Near the end of His earthly ministry, Jesus reiterated the no compromise, all encompassing commitment required by His call.
“As they were going along the road, someone said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’ To another he said, ‘Follow me.’ But he said, ‘Lord, let me first go and bury my father.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’ Yet another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.’ Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9.57-62)
The most important decision that a person will ever make is what they choose to do in response to Jesus’ call to follow Him.