Ever since the promise to Abram in Genesis 12 that he would be a blessing to all the families of the earth, God had provided more encouragement to ensure that in waiting Abram would not be found to be hopeless. So it is that we find such an encouragement in Genesis 17 with another promise and this time in regards to Isaac’s birth. It is with this promise that God opened up the vision for family discipleship.
For I have chosen[a] him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.” – Genesis 18:19 ESV
Family discipleship is a hard concept especially when we view it in the lives of those called by Jesus. He addresses wealth and possessions and by that I mean – family, income, social status, business interests – throughout His teachings and parables. What I do know is that the call to follow Jesus was a transformational call. When I think of Peter’s call, I think before the call took place, Peter had already met Jesus. So in Luke’s gospel, when Jesus calls Peter, it was a call to radical discipleship. So much so that He had to say — “Don’t be afraid.”
… and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”[a] And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him. – Luke 5:10-11 ESV
It is true then, when identifying the marks of a disciple, that a disciple is definitely one who is called. Jesus does not need recruiters. We are called not because we are worthy, but because of His grace.
Luke’s reason for including this incident may be not only to portray the
confrontation of human sinfulness with Jesus but also to show that to receive the
saving grace of Christ a ‘sinful’ man must repent. Long before Luke speaks of the Gentiles with their gross sins and their being included in saving grace, we are faced with the realization that even Peter . . . must take his place as a sinner. – Liefeld
Interesting for me to note that in the calling of Simon, who would eventually be one of the twelve chosen from a larger group, left everything to join Jesus. Yet in the very same chapter is the story of Levi. Like Simon, Levi leaves everything to follow Jesus. However, he will not be among those listed as the twelve.
To be a disciple one needs two things—a master and a teachable spirit.
When I was preaching a sermon on Noah, I mentioned to the congregation that Noah gave up everything to build the ark. For 100 years he was ridiculed, verbally abused, and lost all sense of status in his community. I mentioned that just as everything we own today is not ours, but God’s, and how Noah was a great example of that. The looks I got back were not very friendly. But Jesus says it very clearly:
So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. – Luke 14:33 ESV
Maybe I need to introduce Psalm 3 at this point as a great prayer to pray when we are talking about God’s salvation. I hope you can pray it with as much conviction as David did – it is a real prayer, not such a nice one. May our cry for God’s help be our prayer today so that we can rise up and walk by faith.