Follow Me – The Calling of the Disciples
As Jesus moves from the wilderness to the mission field, he calls several disciples and asks them to follow. What was it about his message and his presence that compelled people to drop everything and follow?
During this third week of Lent, we will be looking at scriptures that deal with responses to God’s call. Use this devotional time to consider how you are called and your response to the divine mandate to follow.
Monday – Matthew 16:24-28
This is a much different invitation from Jesus than we might hear in our churches. This isn’t, “Come and enjoy our potlucks,” or “Please prayerfully consider your pledge card this year.” Take up your cross has a much deeper implication. Following Jesus means that you must engage in self-sacrifice. If we think that Jesus has done all the hard work and left the easy part to us, think again. This is a call to journey WITH him to the cross. What are some ways that your faith journey has asked for sacrifice? When was the last time you sacrificed for the gospel?
Tuesday – Jonah 1:1-17
Jonah was called for a great task by God, but instead of answering this call, Jonah decided to run away. This story has captured the imagination of many Sunday School goers and VBS songs. However, the call on our lives is no less daunting than it was for Jonah. As Christians, we are called to stand up for justice, mercy, and radical love. It is appealing sometimes to run away from that calling. When was a time when you felt like running away from what God has called you to do? It is important to remember that throughout the book of Jonah, God never gives up on Jonah or God’s call on Jonah’s life.
Wednesday – Acts 9:1-9
The calling of Paul (Saul) is a fantastic story! Paul goes from the movement’s number one enemy to the biggest advocate for Jesus and the author of many New Testament letters. There are times when God whispers God’s call to us. There are other times when we are knocked to the ground by the presence of God! When was a time when you felt the awesome power of God grab hold of you? Even though this was a powerful moment in Paul’s life, he was in store for many more experiences because he answered this first call.
Thursday – Genesis 9:8-17
Sometimes God’s call takes the form of a covenant. This story takes place after the flood. Noah was identified as a righteous man, and God wanted Noah as a partner to fill the earth with not only descendants but with righteousness. When God calls us to follow, it is not a one-way street. God makes promises as well. When you participate in the Kingdom of God, you get to see these promises up close. Nothing is more beautiful than God’s love being poured out. What are some promises that God has made in your life? What are some ways in which you could also be counted as righteous?
Friday – Revelation 1:9-19
Of all the books in our Bible, none has garnered more speculation and more intrigue than the very last book – Revelation. John of Patmos was called in a vision to write down what he experienced. Throughout the book, John indicates that many times he really doesn’t understand what he is seeing or experiencing. Nevertheless, he is faithful to the call and writes it down. There are times when God lays on our hearts something we do not understand. The normal tendency is to dismiss such things. If John had done that, we would not have this rich and wonderful collection of imagery and imagination to express good versus evil. This book helped many early Christians endure the hardships of the movement due to persecutions. Has there been a time when you felt God calling you to something that you did not understand?
Saturday – Sabbath Rest
A calling by God is not something that is limited to biblical characters. We are called to be in Christ’s service, and that call is etched on our hearts. There are times it is extremely difficult. There are times when you want to run away. There are times when it is so powerful, and there are times when it simply does not make sense. One thing is certain: God is calling you. How will you respond?
Suggested Daily Prayer
God of the most high, who calls us and calls us no matter our answer or our circumstance. Make clear your call on our lives. Show us what an answer might look like and how we are to respond to your Holy Spirit. Even when we fail to answer, you continue to call us as your children. Give us the courage to live out your will for our lives in this broken world. Thank you for having faith in us. In Jesus’ name – Amen.