Matthew 4 – Radical Change

Well, there is lots to explore with Matthew 4:  The potentially persuasive power of the word “if” over those whose identity is not grounded in God and his word, the significance of Jesus launching his mission with the word “repent”, and the relationship between words (proclaiming) and actions (healing), are just some elements of this chapter that jump out to me.

But what resonates most this morning is the episode described in verses 18-22.  Jesus calling his first disciples.  I love the bluntness and promise contained in Jesus’ words.  But more than that, I am struck with the response of Simon, Andrew, James, and John.  They followed Jesus.  No questions.  No “but I have a good career”.  No “I don’t like change”.  No “I’m too busy right now”.  Jesus called, they followed.

When I read this story, my  mind goes back to my previous career with the provincial government (12 years in land development), and my move to become a pastor at Westwood almost nine years ago.  And if I am lazy in my thinking, I simply congratulate myself for being willing to “follow Jesus” nine years ago by making a radical career change.

But that was then.  What about now?  Do I have the same level of willingness to “follow Jesus”, or is the experience of a good church, a good leadership team, a good school for the girls, etc an anchor that will keep me from moving ahead (radically, if called to) in my spiritual journey if I were to be called to something different?  Hmm … that is a tough question to answer.  I tell myself that I would be willing to make any change necessary, but would I really?

I like change.  That is no surprise to anyone who knows me.  But how would I respond today, if Jesus were to stand in front of me like he did to Simon, Andrew, James, and John during the first century and say, “Mark, leave what you are doing, and follow me.”?  How would you respond if he asked you?


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