Follow Me

{The Call to Discipleship}

Read Matthew 4:18-22

Before we dive into the Sermon on the Mount and study each verse, let’s back up a bit and add some color to the picture. We know that Jesus was teaching this Sermon on the Mount mainly to his disciples, while crowds were listening; it was his disciples he poured into the most.

What is a disciple? It’s someone who is intentionally growing, following, and learning to become more like their Rabbi.

When we were in Israel, we spent 10 days learning about the first century Jewish culture. We learned how they lived, how they worked, how they worshipped, and how they were educated. Did you know by the time a Jewish boy was 12; he would have memorized the entire Torah? That’s right, Genesis to Deuteronomy, every word. I taught elementary school and sometimes my students couldn’t even memorize their 15 spelling words correctly, let alone 5 entire books of the bible!

Education was a little different than what we see now. While all boys were educated in the Torah, your continuation of schooling and Jewish law would depend on how bright you were. In fact, the final level of education would only accept the best and the brightest. Part of that final step in Jewish education and religious studies was finding a Rabbi to follow.

You would approach a Rabbi and ask to be his disciple, someone who you would follow and learn from. The Rabbi would ask you some questions, and based on your answers deem you worthy enough, smart enough, to be his disciple. If you didn’t answer the questions up to his standard, he would tell you no, and you would go back to your village and learn your father’s trade.

In other words, you were told “You’re not good enough, smart enough, or worthy enough to be my disciple.”

Go back to Matthew 4:18-22. Notice Peter and the boys were on a boat casting their nets into the sea. This implied they didn’t make the cut to be someone’s disciple, so they learned their father’s trade as fisherman instead.

Look again at who initiated the invitation into discipleship? Who called out to whom? Was it the disciple to the Rabbi? Or was it the completely upside down backwards way of Jesus calling out to them?

Imagine what they must’ve felt like when they heard Jesus call out these 2 little words:

“Follow me”

This was more than just an invitation to go somewhere. This was acceptance. This was Jesus way of telling them “I know you’ve been told you’re not smart enough, good enough, and worthy enough. I’m telling you, you’re worthy to be my disciple.”

These two words were a way of Jesus beginning His upside down ministry of going to the ones who had been rejected by religious leaders, welcoming them in, and then using them to change the world.

Follow me meant much more than “let’s go on an adventure”. It meant I’m making you good enough and worthy enough to be my disciple.

That should lead us all to drop our nets and run after Him.


 1. What was the response of the disciples after hearing the words “Follow me”?

2. Why is it important to note that Jesus called out to them? How is this different from the way disciples were made back then?

3. Have you ever been told you weren’t good enough for something? Spend sometime today thinking about how the disciples must’ve felt being told they weren’t worthy enough to be someone’s disciple, only then to have Jesus invite them in. How does that affect the call on your life to follow Jesus?

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