Jesus Calls the Fishermen
“Come, follow me,” he said. (Matthew 4:19)
Fish was a dietary staple in first-century Palestine. Fish, eaten more than any other meat, was eaten fresh, processed, salted, dried, or pickled. Therefore, fishing was an important industry on the Sea of Galilee. Today’s Bible story begins with Jesus walking alongside the Sea of Galilee, where he saw two brothers throwing their fishing nets into the sea.
Jesus called out to the two brothers—Simon Peter and Andrew—and said, “Come, follow me” (Matthew 4:19). Matthew does not tell us whether Peter and Andrew had any knowledge of Jesus. Yet when Jesus called them, they dropped everything and followed him. As they continued on, Jesus saw another set of brothers—James and John—who were repairing their fishing nets. James and John also followed Jesus immediately, leaving their boat and their father. Jesus did not give them a lengthy explanation with twenty-seven reasons why they should follow him. He simply called them.
We can take away several important points from this story. First of all, Peter, Andrew, James, and John had done nothing special to warrant being called by Jesus. They were not called because of their qualifications. This is reassuring to those of us who might wonder whether we are qualified to follow Jesus.
Secondly, the call to discipleship did not occur in a holy place. This is not to say God doesn’t call people in holy places, but it illustrates that God works in all areas of human life. In the midst of our daily work, wherever we are, God calls to us.
Thirdly, Jesus called the fisherman for a specific commission. He didn’t simply say, “Follow me,” as he did in some other call stories. Jesus told them that he would show them how to “fish for people” (Matthew 4:19). Their mission was evangelistic in nature. Having been called, they were now to go out and gather people into God’s kingdom.
Jesus calls us to follow Him.
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