The first disciples followed at once without any hesitation. This was the first time Jesus said follow me. He was going to show them who He was and how to live on mission.
Later in John 21:15-22, we read about Peter’s encounter with Jesus after His resurrection. After all they had been through together, even after Peter denied Jesus, Jesus was still pursuing Peter because He had a divine purpose for him. However, this time when Jesus said “Follow me!” there was a hesitancy in Peter’s response. There wasn’t an “at once”. Peter had a lot of questions, and Jesus addressed his fear and hesitation. This time Peter KNEW the cost of following Jesus. He was a changed man, but he was still relying on those changes instead of on Jesus.
The first “follow me” in Matthew was a physical following, literally, drop what you’re doing and come go with me. The second one in John is not so much a physical thing, but it addresses Peter’s spirit. The first was come watch me, the second was come after me and do what I did.
My spirit must be one with the Spirit of God to follow Him in this way. It’s a reckless abandonment of the body, mind, will and emotions because of a radical invasion of the spirit. This is what transforms us not just changes us.
I did a little research on the difference between change and transformation. To change is to do something different instead, and you can revert back to the previous state. To transform is a more thorough, dramatic change, and you will NEVER BE THE SAME again. Change fixes the past, but transformation creates the future, freeing us from the past. Change is all about what I want, and transformation is what HE wants. When you try and change something about yourself, the past is directing these actions. Conversely, when something is transformed, the future directs your actions.
So, to bring all this together is one of my favorite passages of Scripture. These two scenes in scripture are the perfect example of what Paul was talking about in Romans 12:2 NLT, ” Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” And that is exactly what Jesus did with Peter. He knew he couldn’t do this on his own, so, with the power of the Holy Spirit, Peter was transformed. If you take a peek at Acts 2:14-41, you will see a complete transformation in Peter, a new creation with a boldness, tenacity and vision to follow Jesus.