Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men*Matthew 4:19
*Anthropoi, this Greek word is used to refer to both men and women.
There is no doubt in my mind that when the Gospel of Jesus, according to Matthew was written, that God directed his hand perfectly to write down the first command, a call to repentance (Matt. 4:17), then our second command we have this week, is a command to follow.
It is not enough that we have repented of our sins against God, but we must also be willing to follow Him as far as He asks us to walk.
How far does this walk require?
It requires submission. In the world we live in to day, the modern Christian idea teaches that we must profess Jesus as our Savior, but we do not always profess Him as Lord over our lives.
The word Lord is used in a number of ways in the scripture. The dominant form speaks of the Father, or Jesus as Lord (uppercase L in most translations), while other variations speak of people of higher social status as lord (lowercase L in most translations). The word itself is a recognition of one's authority over an individual. To call someone Lord is to recognize that the person is in charge of you, or that you submit to their authority and direction. So when we as Christians call Jesus our Lord, we must also recognize what we are doing.
To call Christ Lord, is to submit to His authority and commands
This is what is going on in Jesus preaching in Matthew 11:28-30. A yoke was used on animals to help with farming, as well as a symbol of obedience.
A wooden crosspiece fastened to the neck and shoulders of one or, more often, two animals (1 Samuel 6:7) to facilitate labor. Yokes were also used by individuals to balance a load suspended from the shoulders (Numbers 4:10, 12; 13:23). As such, the yoke also functioned as a symbol of subjection (Gen. 27:40; Lev. 26:13; Deut. 28:48; Jer. 27:2-7; Gal. 5:1; 1 Tim. 6:1), sometimes of joint labor (2 Cor. 6:14; Phil. 4:3), and is closely associated with pairs of animals (Luke 14:19; 1 Sam. 11:7).Bakers Bible Dictionary
This gives us an example of the purpose of the yoke, as well as our own affiliation of it with Jesus. We are to work side by side with Jesus, as well as subject ourselves to His leadership.
Follow to the Cross
Another example of just how of a load we are to carry in regards to following Christ can be found in Matthew 10:38, and Matthew 16:24. This is two separate accounts in which Jesus is commanding us to take up our cross. This shows just how important of a concept it is to Jesus. He continues this by telling us that if we are unwilling to do so, then we are unworthy of Him.
The concept of the cross was clearly known to the people of that time. This does not mean "I profess to be a Christian", but rather the idea of death. Jesus teaches that while it will not always be required of the Christian if the time comes, we must be willing to follow Him even to our death. He is demanding a total commitment from us.
To follow Jesus is more than just living a lifestyle of participation in local church events or charity. It is more then just the fellowship with other members after service at Bob Evans. What Christ is calling for us is to leave behind the treasures of this world, and follow Him and receive our treasures in heaven. (Matthew 6:19-20).
Is there an area in your life you are lacking in following Jesus? Are you willing to go as far as Jesus as asked you to? If this is a struggle in any area of your life, I want to encourage you to shut down all distractions, take a few minutes to pray, and meditate on your own life, and ask God to reveal the problem in which are preventing you from following Jesus to the full. How far are you willing to go for the Lord?