I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.
And immediately He called them [James and John], and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went after Him (Mk. 1:20)
Jesus found James and John at work mending their nets, possibly talking about this new teacher, Jesus. As disciples of John the Baptist, these brothers knew Jesus’ reputation. John had told them about Him and directed them toward Him. When they asked Jesus where He was staying, He invited them to “Come and see.” They did come. They spent the day with Him (Jn. 1:35-39). They knew Jesus was the way, the truth, and the life. When He invited them to become His friend and walk with Him, they said “yes”, entrusting their father into the hands of their faithful servants. God transformed these “Sons of Thunder” into mighty men of God. These friends of Jesus were prone to act out of emotion (wanting to call down fire from heaven when the Samaritans did not respond to their message) and speaking before thinking (arguing over where they would sit in heaven right after Jesus announced His impending death). Despite their flaws, they were essential in carrying forth the Gospel message because of their close friendship with Jesus. By the end of his life, James was the first apostle to be martyred. Jesus entrusted His mother into the hands of John, “the apostle whom Jesus loved”, when he was crucified on Golgotha.
Like James and John, our friends—those we choose to walk through life with—will influence who we become. It is good for us to follow the example of these brothers. In his Letters to a Young Gentleman, Noah Webster offers this advice for choosing friends:
In forming your connections in society, be careful to select for your companions, young men of good [behavior], and of virtuous principles and habits. . . You cannot always avoid some [communication] with men of dissolute lives; but you can always select, for your intimate associates, men of good principles and unimpeachable character.
Are you walking with Jesus? James and John saw where Jesus was and they stayed with Him. Are you willing to take a close look at your most intimate friendships? Are your friends influencing you to have a closer walk with Jesus? When you choose to be a faithful follower of Jesus, He will become a friend to you, not only for a day, but for all eternity. This day, right now, is a good time to commit to forming friendships only with those who would bring life to your soul. Join Nokseng and your brothers and sisters throughout the world boldly declaring, “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.”