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Come, Follow Me. Don’t be afraid.

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Charles Palacios
Men's Group Leader

Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. -Matthew 4:19

Come after me, and I will make you become fishers of men. -Mark 1:17

Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men. -Luke 5:10

Most people focus on the “fishers of men” part of these verses and rightfully so. They are indeed an extension of the previous commandment relating to the harvest, and a direct reference to the mission of disciple making. However, rather than focusing on the results of the work, catching men, I’d like us to look at the condition of the heart as we begin to fish.

The Greek word Jesus uses here for “come”  is deute. It means come here now! It’s possible to hear this word as the voice of an angry father compelling his wayward son to ‘get over here’! But I think a better example is that of the dad beckoning with his hands and compelling his child to run with him into the amusement park saying, ‘come on...this is going to be great’!

Opitso is the second Greek word that means literally to follow behind or get behind. Jesus is saying, ‘I’ll take the lead, you follow’ or ‘I’ll show you how, just do what I do’. This is important to understand because unless we let Jesus lead the way in our life, it’s likely we will get lost along the way. Here I am imagining a father teaching his son to tie his shoes. “Just do what I do,” the father says and then slowly models the movements. Or perhaps we could imagine a father and son many years later standing in front of a mirror with faces full of shaving cream. The father says, “Just do what I do,” and carefully models the strokes. Now in both cases, the son could do whatever he wants including the opposite strokes, but to what end?

Finally, phobos, which means fear. It’s where we get our word phobia. The Greeks had a god named Phobos who always accompanied Aris the god of war. We have all felt afraid in our lives, so that is easy to understand. But another meaning of this word is to withdraw or separate one’s self, to flee or remove one’s self or to avoid because of dread. A child who thinks there is a monster under his bed or in his closet might flee from his room and run and jump in bed with his parents.    

So in a nutshell, Jesus is saying, ‘Come with me now, I’ll lead the way, stay close, you have nothing to fear’! This is a command. When followed, the result will be that we will catch men.  

There are three conditions of our heart which often hinder us from obeying this command: Hesitant (not being ready now), Defiant (not submitting to follow Jesus’ lead), Wandering (not staying close to Jesus, our leader).  

Which of these conditions, if any, are you most familiar with?

Prayer: Lord, it’s my desire to want to follow you.  Yet, you know my heart and you know that too often fear enters and hinders my following.  Give me the sensitivity to hear your voice.  Give me the courage to stay close. And help me simply follow You, in faithful and loving obedience.

Posted by Charles Palacios with