This week we will observe the importance of following Jesus above and beyond boundaries we may think are more important.
Last week we observed the call of Peter and Andrew to become “fishers of men.” They dropped their nets where they were and followed Him. This week we observe another pair of brothers do the same with even more emphasis on Jesus’ call. In Matthew 4:21-22 we open the text and read the next call of Jesus to a pair of brothers. We read: “And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.”
When we look at these two instances of Jesus calling brothers, we see a smaller description, but a larger cost in the second call. In the call of Peter and Andrew we see them leaving their nets where they were, but nothing is mentioned of their boat or their family. In the call of James and John we see them leaving the boat and even their father that was in it.
This text should not be interpreted that Jesus was inclined to separate and destroy families. This idea would fly in stark contrast to many texts that support a strong family structure. Jesus wants us to have strong family bonds, but Jesus, more importantly, wants us to have those family bonds within Him. The importance of a family following The Lord cannot be underestimated. The Bible does not tell us much about the father of James and John. We do know that he wasn’t just a “mom and pop” operation as he had hired servants who fished with him as recorded in Mark 1:20. He may have even been a successful business man, but we can’t claim to know that based upon what we have. We know what the writers of Scripture thought was important for us to know, and this is the simple idea that Jesus’ call for service was above the call of service to work solely with their father in his business. It was a greater calling, and one that would redefine them as men. They were no longer to be simply fisherman, but to become men who brought people closer to God.
These two men believed that Jesus stood for something greater than all other responsibilities that they had in life. This knowledge drove their actions to follow Him.
Ideas do not have to be complex for them to be profound here in our world. A simple truth can be far more life changing than a complex network of ideas. Jesus desires us all to be the shining lights in our own families, no matter where you are in the family structure. We have the tremendous opportunity to lead our lives in service to the one who created our lives and allow this influence to change the hearts of those closest to us.
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Matthew 4:22 – “Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.”