Jesus and the Fishermen (08-11-21)
Bible Reading: John 1:40-42, Mark 1:16-20
Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas" (which, when translated, is Peter).
As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will send you out to fish for people." At once they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
In selecting the events they recorded, the four gospel writers had three years’ worth of material to choose from. When we think of Jesus calling his first disciples, we probably think of the event in second passage, from Mark’s gospel. Here Jesus walks up to the water’s edge, sees four fishermen whom he calls to follow him, and who immediately leave everything in order to do so. Taken on its own, I think this can give a distorted view of what it is to become a follower of Jesus.
John, however, recorded an event which fits before the meeting on the lake. Here we discover Andrew had already been a follower of John the Baptist who had then pointed him to Jesus as the Lamb of God; Andrew then goes and tells his brother. I think this earlier event makes the decision to follow Jesus more accessible, more of a journey than a one-off dramatic event.
The journey to becoming a follower of Jesus is different for all of us. Somewhere in our story there will be someone who has heard about Jesus and has gone on to have an encounter with him. They have then told others, family or friends, about Jesus and they in turn have gone on to have an encounter with him. At some point they have responded to Jesus’ call, ‘Come, follow me’.
I wonder where you are on that journey. Has there been a teacher or minister who has pointed you towards Jesus? Has there been a friend or relative who has told you of their encounter with Jesus? Have you responded to his call, ‘Come, follow me’? Spend a moment giving thanks to God for the people who have helped you on your spiritual journey.
Continuing further on this journey, is there someone in your life that you could point to Jesus? You don’t need to be able to answer all their questions, just simply to point them to Jesus. Or maybe there is someone with whom you could share your faith journey, as Andrew did with Simon.
In calling us to follow him, Jesus has a vision for all of our lives. For the four fishermen it was to be fishers of men. Jesus was re-commissioning their natural gifts and skills for his Kingdom. What are the gifts and skills that you have? How might they be re-commissioned for his Kingdom?
Thank you, Lord, for those who have pointed me to Jesus.
Help me to follow their example and point others to him so that they too might become followers.
Will you come and follow me?