One day, as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew. They were casting their net, for they were fishermen. Jesus called out to them, "Come with me and follow me. I will show you how to fish for people!" Immediately they left their nets and followed him 🏃💨 Not far away, Jesus saw the sons of Zebedee, James and John. They were sitting in a boat mending their nets. He invited them, too, to come with him. And without hesitation, they left their father Zebedee with the day laborers in the boat and went with him. - Mark 1:16-20
We are here at the very beginning of Jesus' ministry. He goes to Galilee, a region north in Israel, to preach the message of God.
At some point Jesus was at the Sea of Galilee where he meets Simon, Andrew, James and John.
He calls them to follow him and they do.
These men Jesus is calling were young, teenagers. Often we imagine men who were around thirty, like Jesus himself. But they were not, and it was common at that time for a rabbi, which Jesus was, to have disciples in their teens.
At that time fishing was big business on the Sea of Galilee and so the four were fishermen. They gave up their jobs to follow Jesus.
With James and John we read about them leaving their father and also other workers in the boat. So most likely they were busy with a successful family business.
From Simon we read a few verses later on that he had a mother-in-law, so he was married, had a wife. He leaves behind his why of providing for himself and his family in order to follow Jesus.
We see here that it really costs something to follow Jesus. Often we only talk about how good and beautiful everything is with Jesus -and life with Jesus really is also beautiful- but we can't forget all of what Jesus calls us to do when we follow him.
He himself says the following about discipleship: Then he called his disciples and the crowd to him. "If anyone wants to come after me," he said, "he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever tries to preserve his life will lose it. But whoever loses his life for my sake and for the sake of the good news will save it. - Mark 8:34-35
To deny oneself means: to give up the control over our own destiny to be completely ready for the guidance of a higher authority. To stop living for myself and to start living completely for God. This is what it means to deny oneself.
So often we live only for ourselves.
How often do I strive to be the person who makes it big in the end? How often do my thoughts revolve around me? How often do I try to solve things with my own power?
Instead we should strive to deny ourselves, to trust Jesus with our lives, to follow Him with all that we are and have.
Who or what is your priority? Where do you look first when making decisions? Your bank balance? What other people say? Friends/family? What your future will look like? Or do you look to God?
Discipleship means giving things up. Giving Jesus the complete "yes" and saying "no" to other things. No to certain behaviors, plans for the future, or even your job, just like these four disciples did.
If we don't sacrifice anything for Jesus it is not a true discipleship.
Gen Z, why is this important for us?
First of all, because there are so many temptations to follow something else that is not Jesus.
Our generation is searching, searching for truth, searching for what is truly fulfilling. For what is worthy to be followed.
Jesus calls young people to follow him. He did then with the disciples and he still does today.
When I look at Gen Z, I see young people who, when they find the one thing, will give everything for that thing. I see a generation that fights passionately for what is important to them. I see men and women who don't care what others think of them and who, if they have a clear goal, achieve it 💪💥
All of these things are perfect qualities when we, as this generation, meet Jesus.
Gen Z also sees is when something is fake. When we're just going through the motions.
And I think that's what we do sometimes with our faith.
Follow Jesus? Yes, but only without all those things that sound difficult. Only if it means that I can just go on living like before. Only when I am out with certain people or it fits into my schedule.
That's why it's so important that we as a generation follow Jesus with everything we are and are willing to make sacrifices for Him.
I am convinced that God is up to something, that we will soon see something big in Germany. And I am also convinced that Gen Z will be a key player in this. It will only happen if we as Christians in our generation really follow Jesus and deny ourselves ✨🙌
Back to the story from the beginning: because I haven't even told my favorite part yet. What moves me most about this call of the disciples is their response. In Simon and Andrew, it says, iImmediately they left their nets and followed him." With James and John." and without hesitation they left their father Zebedee with the day laborers in the boat and went with him." They don't think twice about following Jesus, about sacrificing their jobs for Him. They do it without hesitation.
Have you ever done anything for Jesus without hesitation? It is time to follow Jesus without thinking over it ten times or even twice.
Think about the disciples, I guarantee they didn't think about how much their lives would change after this decision. They didn't think that they would be part of something that every person will hear, even 2000 years later and to the furthest parts of the earth.
Let's make the decision today to follow Jesus anew, without hesitation, with all that we are.