One of the resources that we'll be utilizing throughout this study will be the study guide, which has just a few pages of thoughts, recommended passages to read from the Bible and questions to answer as well.
Since our study guides weren't available to be distributed on Sunday (mostly my fault), I decided to type those pages each day and send them to our small group and then I thought, why not share it with my blog too. So, I will.
Each day this week, I'll post what we've been given to follow up on for our next study. I realize that those who are reading these posts aren't part of the small group, but maybe through what we are being challenged with, you may be too and maybe you'll want to see this curriculum offered at your church.
So here is DAY 1. FOLLOW ME.
Picture the scene with me. It’s a clear day out on the lake. Two brothers are fishing, and the catch is good. They already know this is going to be a good day, and they’re excited about totaling up the final catch at day’s end.
They hear someone talking to them from the shore a short way off. They shield their eyes from the sun and cock their heads to listen. They’re able to distinctly make out the two words that would change the rest of their lives: “Follow Me.”
Read Matthew 4:18-22. Why do you think Jesus called Peter and Andrew to follow Him rather than believe in Him?
- How are following Jesus and believing in Jesus linked together?
- What did abandonment require for the early disciples identified in this passage?
That’s what Jesus was calling them away from.
Look back at the passage again. What, specifically, did these men have to leave in order to follow Jesus? List those things udner LEFT BEHIND. Then list udner WHAT IT REPRESENTED those things that are represented by what they left.
WHAT IT REPRESENTED
By calling these men to leave their boats, Jesus was calling them to abandon their careers. When He called them to leave their nets, he was calling them to abandon their possessions. When He called them to leave their father in the boat by himself, He was calling them to abandon their family and friends. Ultimately, Jesus was calling them to abandon themselves.
The men were leaving certainty for uncertainty, safety for danger, and self-preservation for self-denunciation. Let’s put ourselves in the positions of these eager followers of Jesus in the first century. What if you were the one stepping out of the boat? What if you were the potential disciple being told to drop your nets? What if it were your father asking where you were going?
- Put yourself in the boat that day. How do you honestly think you would have responded?
- What would have been the most difficult part of following Jesus in that moment? Why?
- Do you think most Christians have had to leave much to follow Jesus? Why or why not?
We do this in all sorts of ways. We rationalize Jesus’ demanding teachings: “Of course, Jesus wasn’t actually telling you to abandon your family. And of course, He wasn’t really saying to leave everything behind to follow Him.” While it’s true that Jesus didn’t – and doesn’t – require everyone to leave their father and the occupation to follow Him, He does require absolute obedience and commitment. Rather than joyfully embracing His call, we have the self-serving tendency to water it down to be theoretical sacrifice and hypothetical abandonment. We want to follow a Jesus that doesn’t require anything of us.
- Have you ever rationalized like this when reading Jesus’ words? Do you remember a specific occasion?
- Why do you think we do this?
But I wonder if I could help you push through the haze of self-justification and ask a simple question as we study the words of Christ together:
WHAT IF HE WAS ACTUALLY SERIOUS?