One day Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee when He came upon two brothers, Peter and Andrew, who were fishermen, casting their nets into the water. He issued a call to them that if they would leave their nets and follow Him, He would teach them how to become fishers of men. Nearby, He saw James and John, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He issued the same call to them as He had Peter and Andrew. All four immediately left their nets behind (and in the case of James and John, their father as well) and began to follow Jesus.
While it might appear so upon first examination, this was not their first encounter with this amazing man. Approximately one year earlier, these gentlemen had met the Savior. When John the Baptist identified Jesus as the Lamb of God, Andrew, Peter, and John followed Jesus home and spent the day with Him. We are not told how much time the brothers spent with our Lord, but it was significant enough for them to have an immediate response to His call. One would not expect a man to immediately, without warning or explanation, leave everything behind and follow someone, unless they already knew something about that someone.
I recall this story to make this point. There is a difference between knowing and following Jesus. These men had known Him for approximately a year, and yet it wasn’t until the moment Jesus issued the call by the sea that they actually began to follow Him. It is good to know Jesus…it is better to follow Him. Following the Messiah meant they would need to leave that which was familiar and comfortable to them. They had to leave behind what had worked for them in the past and what they had grown up with. We do the same thing when we choose to follow Jesus in total discipleship and give our lives to serve Him and His kingdom.
I ask you, are you following Jesus, or are you satisfied with simply knowing Him or knowing about Him? Is God an important part of your life? Then you know Him, but you are most likely not following Him. God can’t be an important part of your life – He must be all of your life. Another sign of knowing but not following is when you are satisfied with just attending church, but not being the church in the earth. Jesus identified the conditions of following Him when He said, “deny yourself and follow Me.” Give yourself totally to Him today, leave your nets behind, and your great adventure will be underway.