If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” But not all have obeyed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.
But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have; for
“Their voice has gone out to all the earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.”
Psalm 19: 7-10
The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the decrees of the Lord are sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is pure,
the ordinances of the Lord are true
and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey,
and drippings of the honeycomb.
As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.
The scriptures today highlight the importance of an invitation. When planning an event and inviting guests, a personal invitation goes a longer way than a generic “ya’ll come.” A person is much more likely to come if they feel their presence matters to someone and they are wanted. In the gospel, Jesus goes much farther than inviting Andrew, Peter, James, and John to follow him. He does not ask them to follow him or say “follow me if you like,” or “I’d love it if you would follow me.” Instead, he leads with the action verb commanding them to follow him and ending with a promise of what they will get if they do. He makes them an offer better than their current position. Jesus’s persuasion is so strong that they immediately leave and follow him.
Jesus does not just invite the first disciples to follow him, but he invites them into the work of evangelization too. “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” First, Jesus invites them to follow him, then they invite others to follow him as well.
Where would any follower of Christ be without an invitation? We come to know, believe in, and worship Christ because someone else introduced us to him. Whether you were raised in a Christian household, choose Christianity through a conversion experience, or met Jesus later on in life, you are a believer because you were invited to follow Jesus.
Today, as the season of Advent comes closer, think about the words of the psalmist and how truly wonderful it is to follow Jesus and on the wonderful benefits of being close to Him. Pray for the courage and the opportunities to invite your friends and family to follow the Lord more closely this Advent season.