CFollow Me

Unlike the Baptist, Jesus is remembered as calling on individuals to follow him — Simon and Andrew (Mark 1.17/Matt. 4.19), Levi/Matthew (Mark 2.14 pars.), Philip (John 1.43), those who were willing to deny themselves and take up their cross (Mark 8.34 pars.; Matt. 10.38/Luke 14.27), the rich young man (Mark 10.21 pars.), the would-be disciple (Matt. 8.22/Luke 9.59). Was this a selective invitation? Or was it coextensive with the call to repent and believe? The issue is obscured by the fact that not only are the immediate band of disciples described as 'following' Jesus,66 but also individuals unbidden (Mark 10.52 pars.), women who supported him (Mark 15.41; Matt. 27.55), and even large crowds.67 The most obvious answer to the question is that Jesus did issue a general call to repentance and faith (like the sower dispersing the seed widely?), but that he targeted specific individuals to be his disciples as such with a view to giving them more intensive teaching.68 We will have to return to this subject below (§§13.3b and 14.3).

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