But the thing that has really been making me thinking lately is how the disciples Jesus called didn't already have a full understanding of who he was before they began following him. Jesus didn't have some list of pre-requisite beliefs that these men had to have before they could be his disciples. All he asked was that they follow him; he would teach them the rest. He would live life with them and show himself to be the Son of God through his very life. What an incredible lesson that would have been!
In some ways I've had my thinking backwards. For so long I've thought that to be a follower of Jesus you had to have it all figured out. But God has been reminding me that when I first started following Christ I couldn't have given you a clear statement of theology or even fully explained why I believed what I believed. All I knew was that Jesus was calling my heart to follow him. Jesus says, "Follow me." He doesn't say, "Figure out you theology and then you can follow me." This is the beautiful thing about the gospel; we don't have to fully understand everything about Jesus to follow him. Our lives don't have to be perfect, because as we grow in our relationship with Christ we will begin to reflect his perfection.
Jesus also doesn't say, "Get rid of all that baggage in your life first before you follow me." Instead, he tells us that we can hand it all over to him. He says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28) I find myself breathing a sigh of relief every time I revisit this truth. It's a very freeing thing to realize that we have nothing to bring to the table when it comes to meeting God. All we have to offer is our sinful lives, but Jesus takes it all and transforms it into something wonderful. He gives us a new heart and a new spirit; he gives us the ability to stand before the God of the universe and not be guilty of our messed up lives.
The other thing I love about this verse is that Jesus says, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." He's telling his disciples that he will so transform their lives that they will be able to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth. What an amazing truth! I get really caught up in thinking that being a witness for Christ is about what I do, but it has nothing to do with me at all. It's about what he does through me. Jesus will teach us and mold us more and more into the image of God, and our only job is to be obedient.