This text displays a radical action of obedience that Jesus required. It was a call that caused two men to drop what they were doing and turn to follow The Lord. There was a sense of urgency. The task needed to be done.
In Matthew 4:18-22 we have the call of Simon called Peter and Andrew to be disciples. Jesus was walking by the sea of Galilee and saw Peter and Andrew. They were casting their nets into the sea hard at work. This wasn’t their first meeting though as could be assumed in only a reading of Matthew. The Gospel of John records an earlier encounter Jesus had with Peter and Andrew. In John 1:35-42 we see John the Baptist speaking with two men, one of which was Andrew. Jesus walked by and John the Baptist said of Him “Behold the Lamb of God!” Andrew began to follow Jesus at this time, but quickly ran to get his brother Simon, who will be called Peter, and introduce him to Jesus. That’s pretty important for us because, when Jesus saw them fishing on the shore of Galilee, this was a call to people who already have already met Him. Jesus saw them as they are casting their nets into the sea. They are doing what they do for a living. He relates this occupation with a radically different one that He has called them to do. Jesus says to them in Matthew 4:19: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Their response is quick: “Immediately they left their nets and followed him.” When I think about this encounter, I think about the priorities that these men had. They believed Jesus was who He said He was, and when He called them to action, they moved. They compromised their financial security to do what Jesus told them to do. They compromised their livelihood to follow Jesus. Imagine the scene with me. Two men working fishing nets in the sea, a man from shore calls out to them. They know who He is. The one who John the Baptist told them about that day. The one they began to follow. The one who is to bring salvation to the world has just called them to action. They drop their nets and walk towards Him.
I don’t know what happened to their nets, boat, etc., but I know what happened in their lives. We, over 2,000 years later, don’t think about their fishing nets. We think about them as the Disciples of Jesus Christ. We think about them as great men, who although flawed human beings, were in the presence of God incarnate. Men who worked towards the establishment of His Kingdom on earth. Fishing is not a bad thing, frankly, I wish I could do more of it. This wasn’t a call to stop fishing, it is a call to serve The Lord. It was an urgent call for an urgent message.
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Matthew 4:19 – “And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ “