Mark 1:16-20 ESV – Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.
In this passage, we see Jesus walking alone by the Sea of Galilee. He sees some fishermen, tells them to follow Him, and they obey. Why? Who would walk away from their livelihood and follow a guy they’ve never met? Would you?
First, Jesus sees Simon (who becomes Peter later) and his brother Andrew. They are in the process of fishing, the Bible tells us. Jesus says something peculiar to them, “Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men.” I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like the greatest vocation, fishing for men. It sounds like a really bad game show. “It’s time to play ‘Fishing for Men!'” Obviously that’s not what Jesus meant, and we see from the rest of Scripture and history that these men went on to snatch souls out of the grips of hell and save them by the Gospel. Still, though, these guys didn’t know the future. Yet, they immediately stopped working and followed Jesus.
Secondly, we see Jesus pull the same stunt with 2 other fishermen-brothers: James and John. They aren’t actually fishing, like Simon and Andrew, but are mending their broken nets. Interestingly, Mark doesn’t explicitly tell us what Jesus said to them, just that He called them, and they left their dad in the boat and immediately followed Jesus. It doesn’t say if they said anything to their father or not. That would be more than a little awkward, if they didn’t at least say “goodbye!” Could you imagine the family drama at Thanksgiving the next year? “Remember when you two just up and left me in the boat without a word?” Regardless of what they said to Zeb, they stopped working and followed Jesus.
I’ve heard many different explanations for why these guys all ditched their work to follow Jesus. Apparently, following a Rabbi in that day and age was what every young adult wanted. For a teacher to tell you to follow him was like a full-ride scholarship to the best University. What fisherman wouldn’t take a free, all-expense paid scholarship to Yale, right? That explanation seems logical, but I don’t know if it’s necessary.
I think the beauty in this story, and the others we see when Jesus calls His disciples, is the irrationality of it. Whether the guys are fishing, collecting taxes, sitting under a tree, or on their way to Damascus, when Jesus called, they stopped everything and followed Him. I don’t know if the Holy Spirit moved on their hearts, or if there was something special in Jesus’ voice. I just know that He spoke, they obeyed. No reason is given. The voice of Jesus made them change their lives.
There are very few things in my life that make me stop everything and change direction. The question for today is: Is hearing Jesus’ voice one of them? Will I stop everything and follow Him?
Posted in Wednesday Word