The disciples’ response to Jesus’ call to follow is both inspiring and perplexing. They embody Ignatius’ ideal of “indifference” or “spiritual freedom.” They are able to immediately let go of everything in and about their lives for the opportunity to know and follow Jesus. Their response may seem reckless and unreasonable, but it shows on the surface what spiritual freedom really is. We may not have to literally abandon our home, possessions, family, and livelihood. (The disciples were even able to come back to their old way of life when they thought Jesus had failed.) We are, however, created and called to see absolutely everything as either an opportunity or an obstacle to life in Christ. We are called to be ready to surrender anything and everything, to "regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord“ (Philippians 3:8).
Read Mark 1:14–20:
After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
- Ask God for freedom from whatever holds you back from following him.
- Enter the story in your imagination. Walk along the Sea of Galilee. Feel the breeze and smell the fishy air. Hear the sound of the water, the fishermen’s crass jokes. Observe their equipment, their work, their rough demeanor and lifestyle. Watch things unfold as Jesus—who is more like them then we usually imagine—approaches and calls them.
- Notice how free and ready these men are to abandon everything. What makes them able to do that?
- Have a conversation with Jesus by the water. Hear him say directly to you, “Follow me.” What are the immediate hesitations that hold you back? What are your nets and boats? Who is your Zebedee? Talk to Jesus about how and why these things have a hold on your heart.