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“Follow me”

– Feast of Saint Andrew, Apostle –

“Follow me”… Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. [Matthew 4:19-20]

We can read and hear these gospel stories so often, and imagine that long ago we got the point. Why do we need to keep returning to them again and again? Perhaps it is because we are not as clear on what they are about, and what they are asking us of us, as we would like to think.

Scripture operates on a number of levels. Here we note three of them. There is the account of what happened, presented through the memory and terms of reference of the person or people recording the account. Then there is the matter of the ‘meaning of the text’. This is more than what happened and why. This is about how it develops our understanding of who Jesus is, and what he is inviting those who follow him to do and to be. Finally, there is what the text means for each of us. This changes and expands over the years, as the Holy Spirit leads each of us forward into becoming the unique son or daughter of God we are called to be.

As I read this text today, this is what it means to me. I see that Andrew, Simon, James and John immediately followed Jesus without giving it a second thought; this is an example that I long to live by. None of them gave ultimatums to Jesus as we sometimes do: “I’ll follow you if this or that happens.” They simply obeyed and followed Jesus.

They immediately recognised that Jesus was something special, someone worth following. Their willingness to follow Him immediately completely transformed their lives and enabled them to live life to the full!

How different would our lives be if we lived like Andrew, Simon, James and John? If we surrendered completely to Christ and trusted that, what He had planned for us was better than anything we could imagine. How incredible would our lives be if we said ‘yes’ to Christ whenever he called us instead of trying to take control and make God ‘fit’ into our lives?

In John 10:10, Jesus says that He has come so that we may have life and live it to the full! That is what Jesus desires for us, He desires us to live a full life! Jesus is not calling us to a mediocre life, so when He calls, we need to be like Andrew, Simon, James and John and immediately follow Him because He desires amazing things for us, and it is in following Christ that we will find the life we are longing for.

By Steven Bird

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