'After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, 28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.' Luke 5: 27-28
Choosing to give your life to Jesus is a big deal. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, scared and excited all at the same time, as we turn from one path to another. For Levi the tax collector (aka Matthew), there was no hesitation at all, but in my case, it took a little longer to build up the courage.
Do you remember this moment in your own life? Some of us may have been brought up in the church from a young age and made the choice to follow Jesus at the time of baptism. For others, it happens later in life, perhaps after attending an Alpha Course or being invited by someone they know to come to church. For my wife, it was going forward at a Billy Graham conference as a young girl.
The first step on this journey is momentous, but actually very simple. As we read in the bible, this often starts with a simple invitation. “Follow me” (Luke 5:27 and Matthew 4:19) were the words Jesus used to call His first disciples. Whether aware or not, we’ve all had this calling on our lives too. Thankfully, our part in it is simple: we need only to accept the invitation and follow Him.
Great. That was straightforward enough. So, what happens next? What are we supposed to do with this invitation to follow?
Well, it is easy to over-complicate this (I certainly have), but as Christians, we are called to receive (and then spread) the good news. This is daunting for many, but we don’t need to be a theologian or scholar to point people to Jesus. As Phillip showed us in John's gospel, all we need to say to our friends, colleagues, and loved ones is, “Come and see” (John 1:46), with an invitation to get to know and start following Jesus at church.
“Follow Me” usually comes soon after “Come and see”. It did for me and my wife. We first visited HTR as a result of a chance encounter with an old family friend in Richmond. Noticing they were much changed, we were struck by the powerful yet simple testimony: "I’ve encountered Jesus and my life has totally changed, you have to come and see!” We did. It changed our lives.
What follows is a life of discipleship, a life of following. It’s not always easy and we will likely stumble and fall along the way. But becoming part of a church family equips us to follow - to sit at the feet of Jesus, experience His love, His healing, His forgiveness. We are called to learn from Him, encounter Him through the Holy Spirit and over time, become like Him.
As our lives grow more complicated and busier, let’s remember this simple invitation from Jesus to “follow me”. And perhaps at some point this week we might find the courage to say “come and see” to someone in our lives who needs to hear it.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for the invitation to follow you. I accept this invitation with all my being and pray that you would give me the courage to invite others so that they may also “come and see”.