What are the prerequisites to following Jesus? What are the things we have to do to become part of the Jesus team? Do we pay our monthly dues? Do we qualify by winning the Moral Compass games? Do we graduate from discipleship school with a BFJ (Bachelors in Following Jesus)? Maybe it’s our grade point average? Maybe it’s the amount of money we give each year to reputable charities? Maybe it’s our attendance at church? Maybe it’s our ability to overcome that addiction we hate so much? Maybe it’s…
You get the picture. There can be a lot of questions flying around, asking what it is going to take to qualify you to follow Jesus, and sometimes you can receive a lot of answers from well-meaning people. But Jesus says there is one, only one prerequisite…be willing.
Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.
(Mark 1:16-20 ESV)
Peter, Andrew, James, and John had no pre-qualifications to earn their place on Jesus’s team. They had no degrees, and other than being born Jewish, nothing that would have qualified them to take part in any of the things Jesus was about to invite them into…because following Jesus isn’t just a salvation thing. Following Jesus is also a commission thing. It’s not just about a ticket to heaven; it’s about an invitation to live an everyday life with Jesus, with you joining Jesus on His mission.
And the pre-qualifications are the same…be willing. Jesus is looking for willing people to follow Him and join in the process of making disciples. No prerequisites…no maturity level needs to be reached…no certain amount of attendance or knowledge needed…just a heart that says, “I will follow Jesus wherever He leads.”