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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

An Invitation: Come Follow Me

Jesus came to prominence after he was baptized by John the Baptist in the River Jordan.  He had apparently been ignored in the town of Nazareth where he grew up, but after his baptism by John the Holy Spirit influenced him in such a way that he could no longer remain silent.  The Spirit sent him, or led him into the desert where he was tested by Satan, and when he returned, he began to preach and assemble disciples he would teach in a more intense manner.  He first wanted to see who listened to him preach.  John the Baptist had disciples, too, and he told John, the son of Zebedee, and Andrew that Jesus was the one they should be looking for.  

Andrew and John went home with Jesus and visited and listened for a whole afternoon.  Later Jesus was preaching by the seashore, and he called these four to come and follow him:  John and his brother James, Andrew and his brother Peter.  Jesus said to them and to Nathaniel, and Philip, "Come follow me."  He also called Matthew who was a tax collector with the same message.

This was a more intense call.  It was no longer just an invitation to see where he lived or what he ate, but an invitation of involvement:  Come see what I preach, and who I touch, and where I go.  Now it became "Come do what I do."

That is the invitation he wanted those disciples to accept, and it is still the invitation he extends to his listeners today.  To those who hear his call, the invitation is not just one of investigation or casual interest, but participation in the mission of spreading the word and love of God.

Read Matthew 4, Mark 1, John 1, and Luke 4 and 5 for a fuller explanation of the call of the disciples.